09.11.2020 | News & Views

Cetrulo LLP Attorneys Author Amicus Curiae Brief to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts on Issue of Federal Preemption

Cetrulo LLP attorneys Lawrence G. Cetrulo, Kyle E. Bjornlund, and Jesse G. Ainlay recently filed a brief of amicus curiae on behalf of the MassDLA with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the matter of Dunn v. Genzyme Corp. The issue before the Court concerned federal preemption, namely whether Plaintiff’s claims were preempted by the Medical Device Amendments to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 or whether the plaintiff’s “bare bones” allegations were sufficient to avoid federal preemption as so-called “parallel” state law claims pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 360k(a) and Massachusetts law under Iannacchino v. Ford Motor Co., 451 Mass. 623 (2008). The brief focused on three critical factors for the Court’s consideration: (1) Congress’s clear intent to provide broad preemption under the MDA, (2) the need for the Court to exercise judicial restraint and adhere to the express intent of the legislature, and (3) the importance of requiring a plaintiff to sufficiently plead facts that would allow a claim to survive under the narrow “parallel claims” exception articulated by the Supreme Court of the United States in Riegel v. Medtronic, Inc., 552 U.S. 312 (2008).

The issue is of critical import for defendants in Massachusetts because allowing a plaintiff’s factually deficient pleading to survive a motion to dismiss will require medical device manufacturers to needlessly litigate cases that should otherwise be preempted, thereby eroding the clear legislative intent of Congress. In addition to the MassDLA’s brief, amicus briefs were filed in this matter by the Washington Legal Foundation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

View a copy of the MassDLA’s brief.

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