From the Business Litigation Practice.

Preemption in Medical Device Litigation: What has changed Since Reigel?

March, 2012

This Article provides an overview of current State and legislative developments after Riegel. It begins with a history of medical device regulation and highlights the recent case of Stengel v. Medtronic, in which the Ninth Circuit adhered closely to Riegel to hold State law claims preempted by the MDA. Stengel also highlights the uncertainty lower court’s face in the wake of Riegel when determining which claims are encompassed in the Supreme Court’s 2008 holding. The result has been a variety of interpretations by State and federal courts as to the scope of Riegel in cases where federal and State laws pose similar requirements of device manufacturers. Finally, the Article concludes with current legislative attempts to limit Riegel’s future application. As proposed legislation seeks to reverse Riegel and silence device manufacturers’ preemption defense, it appears that the majority of States are not inclined to abandon Riegel without opposition. By Marisa A. Trasatti and Jhanelle A. Graham.

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