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Cell Phones, Immigration and Why Wyeth v. Levine Was Wrongly Decided on "Purposes and Objectives" Obstacle Preemption

September 6, 2018 - Drug & Device Law Blog
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Cases involving the "purposes and objectives" obstacle part of the implied preemption doctrine are rare. The recent decision in Fontana v. Apple, Inc., ___ F. Supp. 3d ___, No. 2:18-cv-00019, 2018 WL 3689044 (M.D. Tenn. August 3, 2018), is a reminder of the efficacy of this powerful, but little used, defense. Plaintiff brought a personal injury action claiming he developed cancer from the use of a cell phone. In the 1990s these claims were addressed by extensive Daubert practice. But this claim was dismissed at the pleadings stage because it interfered with the FCC’s ability to carry out its mission of setting radio frequency emission levels established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It was specifically based on “purposes and objectives” obstacle preemption. That is good for the cell phone industry but does it “speak” to us in the pharmaceutical defense world? Indeed it does.

Read the blog post here.

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