Monday, February 06, 2012

Pfizer's Birth Control Recall: Lawsuits?

Image representing Pfizer as depicted in Crunc...
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News last week that Pfizer recalled one million lots of a contraceptive. Not long after the recall, there were reports about unintended pregnancies and possible legal fallout. 

Several news outlets went in search of lawyers who might be quotable, and some attorneys did not disappoint. Fox News asked one lawyer his opinion, and he said: “I think you potentially may see some very significant verdicts [if a woman gets pregnant], because in essence a person takes birth control pills so they don’t have to address issues that – as a result of the pill not working – they’re now going to have to address,” Gianfocaro said.

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Well, I call bullshit. I predict no verdicts, much less significant ones. Why? Nearly every sane adult knows that birth control is not 100% effective. Also, practically speaking a Judge (at least in the South) will not likely be comfortable concluding that life is a type of damages. In addition, there are many states that simply do not recognize a cause of action for wrongful conception. 

Take it from step one. If a healthy woman took this birth control and became pregnant, having a healthy child with no issues at all, what then? Especially if the woman has a child after this "unintended" child.  The case would not likely be considered before going through the gauntlet of motions, hearing and more. Imagine bringing a healthy 5 year old polite child into the courtroom? I've tried many cases, and I'm not sure any jury anywhere - upon seeing the child - would award a dollar, much less "significant" dollars. seems to have it right in its post:   "A company’s liability is likely to be relatively modest, because damages in wrongful pregnancy cases are usually limited to replacement contraception, the cost of prenatal care, labor and delivery expenses, and sometimes a small award for emotional distress."

So you may see a rogue lawsuit, but these 'cases' won't go anywhere. They shouldn't.  

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