Pete Kaufman, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP; Suzanne Kaplan, Slack & Davis L.L.P., Austin, Texas; Peter Harvey, partner, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP and former attorney general of New Jersey
Choice of law is a hot-button issue in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. It can have a major impact on all parties involved in coordinated proceedings, determining what statute of limitations applies, whether punitive damages are available, and what standard of proof applies to the dispute. Because each state’s choice of law doctrine differs, the same set of facts can play out in various ways, resulting in a significantly different outcome depending on the state where the lawsuit is being heard. Several recent decisions have dramatically demonstrated the importance of choice of law in coordinated pharmaceutical litigation.