271 F.3d 89 (2nd Cir. 2001), 99-7539, Vitanza v. Upjohn Co.

Docket Nº:Docket No. 99-7539
Citation:271 F.3d 89
Party Name:MICHELE M. VITANZA, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF TIMOTHY F. VITANZA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, v. THE UPJOHN COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.
Case Date:November 13, 2001
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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271 F.3d 89 (2nd Cir. 2001)

MICHELE M. VITANZA, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS EXECUTRIX OF THE ESTATE OF TIMOTHY F. VITANZA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THE UPJOHN COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.

Docket No. 99-7539

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

November 13, 2001

Argued: December 15, 1999

Appeal from judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, Dominic J. Squatrito, J., granting defendant's motion for summary judgment on the ground that the "learned intermediary" doctrine barred plaintiff's claim. Question concerning the "learned intermediary" doctrine was certified to the Connecticut Supreme Court by Second Circuit. The Connecticut Supreme Court held that on the facts of this case, defendant drug manufacturer is insulated from liability as a matter of law by the learned intermediary doctrine.

Affirmed.

Jonathan M. Levine, Stamford, CT (Silver Golub & Teitell Llp, Richard A. Silver, Brad C. Gustafson, of Counsel), for Plaintiff-Appellant Michele Vitanza.

Timothy W. Donahue, Wallingford, CT (Delaney, Zemetis, Donahue, Durham & Noonan, P.C., of Counsel), for Defendant-Appellee Upjohn Company.

Before: Feinberg, Jacobs, and Katzmann, Circuit Judges.

Feinberg, Circuit Judge

This is an appeal from a March 1999 judgment of the United States District

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Court for the District of Connecticut, Dominic J. Squatrito, J., granting defendant's motion for summary judgment on the ground that the "learned intermediary" doctrine barred plaintiff's claim. In May 2000, we certified the controlling question of law in this case to the Connecticut Supreme Court. Vitanza v. Upjohn Co., 214 F.3d 73, 74 (2d Cir. 2000). In August 2001, that Court held that on the facts of this case, the defendant drug manufacturer was insulated from liability as a matter of law by the learned intermediary doctrine. 1 Vitanza v. Upjohn Co., 778 A.2d 829 (Conn. 2001).

I.

A. Background

The following statement of relevant facts and description of the legal proceedings leading to our May 2000 certification is taken almost verbatim from our prior opinion. Michele M. Vitanza (Mrs. Vitanza, or simply Vitanza) brought this suit individually and as executrix of the estate of her husband, Timothy Vitanza (Mr. Vitanza), against The Upjohn Company (Upjohn), a Delaware corporation transacting business in the state of Connecticut. Upjohn manufactured and marketed a prescription drug under the name Ansaid, which is an acronym for A Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug. Ansaid is indicated for the acute or long-term treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, as well as for less serious conditions.

Sometime in early 1992, an Upjohn sales representative provided samples of Ansaid to Dr. Gary Besser...

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