First Circuit

Over the last several years, food and drug manufacturers have litigated countless class action lawsuits claiming that their products are misleadingly advertised.  Many of these lawsuits claim that a product’s packaging is misleading because it allegedly violates FDA labeling rules.  Last week, in DiCroce v. McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, — F.4th —, No. 22-1910, 2023 WL 6056144 (1st Cir. Sept. 18, 2023), the First Circuit found that these claims are impliedly preempted by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”). Continue Reading First Circuit Finds “Fraud on the FDA” Claims Preempted by the FDCA

Recent decisions from the First and Ninth Circuits may help defendants facing false advertising challenges to certain types of labeling statements known as “structure/function claims.”  Three courts have held that such challenges were preempted by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).Continue Reading Trio of Cases Supports Preemption Arguments for False Advertising Suits Challenging “Structure/Function Claims”

The First Circuit recently vacated and remanded a district court’s approval of a proposed class action settlement “because the absence of separate settlement counsel for distinct groups of class members makes it too difficult to determine whether the settlement treated class members equitably.” Murray v. Grocery Deliver E-Servs. USA Inc., — F.4th —, 2022

The First Circuit recently revived consumer deception claims challenging the safety and testing of a car booster seat manufactured by Evenflo, in a case that potentially makes it easier for class-action plaintiffs to satisfy Article III’s standing requirements in the First Circuit when they only allege an economic injury. Continue Reading First Circuit Holds Alleged Overpayment Enough for Article III Standing

If a tree falls in the forest but no one is around to hear it, did it make a sound?  Philosophers disagree.  If a product contains a contaminant but no one gets sick, did it cause an injury?  Judges disagree.

In the 2000s, enterprising plaintiffs’ attorneys attempted to push the boundaries of existing tort law by arguing that plaintiffs are entitled to damages for defects even when they cause no physical injury.  These so-called “no-injury” theories of liability were largely rejected by courts.  E.g., Rivera v. Wyeth-Ayerst Lab’ys, 283 F.3d 315, 320–21 (5th Cir. 2002) (dismissing “no-injury products liability law suit”); Johnson v. Bankers Life & Cas. Co., 2014 WL 4494284, at *7 (W.D. Wis. Sept. 12, 2014) (recognizing that in the “consumer product context, courts routinely find lack of standing where—while a product may have been defective in the hands of others—the individual plaintiffs did not suffer the defect and, therefore, suffered no injury”).

While these cases closed the door on “no-injury” product liability claims, they left open the possibility of other “no-injury” claims, such as claims that a manufacturing defect breached a warranty or constituted fraud.  E.g., Cole v. Gen. Motors Corp., 484 F.3d 717, 723 (5th Cir. 2007) (“Notably in this case, plaintiffs may bring claims under a contract theory based on the express and implied warranties they allege.”).

Whether and when “no-injury” claims are viable is a hotly debated question.  As more fully discussed below, courts disagree on whether a plaintiff who has purchased a contaminated or defective product—but who has successfully used the product for its intended purpose while suffering no physical injury—can maintain a claim.Continue Reading A Closer Look: Does Purchasing a Defective or Contaminated Product Always Cause an Article III Injury?

Although plaintiffs often assume that breach-of-contract claims arising out of form agreements are readily susceptible to class certification, two recent appellate decisions cast doubt on that thinking. The First Circuit affirmed denial of class certification of claims arising from an annuity certificate, agreeing with the district court that common issues did not predominate over individual