Friday, February 22, 2008

Can Something Bad Happen and It's Nobody's Fault?

Not in America, it seems. You can always sue somebody, right?

But Riegel v. Medtronic is creating quite a stir in the legal industry.

Basically, the Supreme Court decided just the other day that those huge medical-device product liability suits cannot proceed if the FDA pre-approved the medical device.

In short, what we're seeing here is that the federal government, via what's commonly called the Interstate Commerce Clause [that's in the Constitution, for those who came in late], can short-circuit state laws and state lawsuits against corporations that do business nationally.

The interesting thing is that the decision was 7-1, Justice Breyer mugwumping and only Justice Ginsburg dissenting, on grounds that states have compelling interests, etc., etc.

Now, I'm a Fred Thompson federalist---power devolved to the states---but it seems that the ICC is totally applicable here, and the best thing is that it's not another chafing, apparently partisan-ideological 5-4 decision.

Even the Supreme Court can largely agree on what the Constitution means every once in awhile. Thank God and may He continue to bless This Here Republic.

Next up: lawsuits on pharmaceuticals---Warner-Lambert v. Kent, and more here. The powerful plaintiff's bar---which at the top levels makes far more money than those grunts who defend corporations---is in quite a tizzy, running out of people to sue.

A fair reading of the constitution beats even "tort reform" anyday.