Poloney v. Tambrands, Inc., Nos. S90A1298

CourtSupreme Court of Georgia
Writing for the CourtCLARKE; CLARKE; WELTNER
Citation412 S.E.2d 526,260 Ga. 850
Parties, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 12,695, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 13,113 POLONEY, et al. v. TAMBRANDS, INC. TAMBRANDS, INC. v. POLONEY.
Decision Date10 January 1991
Docket NumberS90X1299,Nos. S90A1298

Page 526

412 S.E.2d 526
260 Ga. 850, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 12,695,
Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 13,113
POLONEY, et al.
v.
TAMBRANDS, INC.
TAMBRANDS, INC.
v.
POLONEY.
Nos. S90A1298, S90X1299.
Supreme Court of Georgia.
Jan. 10, 1991.

Page 527

[260 Ga. 852] H. Darrell Greene, Jack M. Smith, Paul Shimek, III, Greene & Davis, Marietta, Arthur H. Bryant, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, Washington, D.C., for Poloney.

[260 Ga. 853] John A. Gilleland, Atlanta, for Tambrands, Inc.

Roger E. Podesta, Debevoise & Plimpton, Roberta G. Gordon, Debevoise & Plimpton, New York City.

Michael Maher, President, Ass'n of Trial Lawyers of America, Washington, D.C., Marc Wetherhorn, Georgia Citizen Action, Atlanta, Ruth Jones, NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund, New York City, Foy R. Devine, Atlanta, Eugene Brooks, Richard H. Middleton, Jr., Middleton & Anderson, Savannah, amicus appellant.

Marlys A. Marshall, Wichita, Kan., Roger E. Podesta, Debevoise & Plimpton, New York City.

Frank J. Beltran, Chairman, Georgia Trial Lawyers Assoc., Atlanta.

[260 Ga. 850] CLARKE, Chief Justice.

Janis Poloney died after using tampons made by Tambrands, Inc. Her parents alleged that she died from toxic shock syndrome and brought an action against Tambrands for products liability and wrongful death. The trial court granted Tambrands' motion for partial summary judgment on the grounds that the Poloneys' state law claims alleging failure to warn, inadequate warning and misrepresentation are preempted by federal law. We granted the Poloneys' interlocutory application to address the preemption issue.

1. The issue to be decided in the main appeal is whether applicable federal statutes and regulations preempt claims based on state law standards for evaluating the adequacy of the toxic shock syndrome warning. Tambrands' only contention is that the legal sufficiency of its warning must be judged solely on the basis of the federally prescribed standards.

The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution dictates that federal law preempts inconsistent state law. U.S. Const., Art. VI, cl. 2. "Pre-emption may be either express or implied, and is 'compelled whether Congress' command is explicitly stated in the statute's language or implicitly contained in its structure and purpose.' Jones [260 Ga. 851] v. Rath Packing Co., 430 U.S. 519, 525, 97 S.Ct. 1305, 1309, 51 L.Ed.2d 604 (1977)." Fidelity Federal Savings & Loan Association v. de la Cuesta, 458 U.S. 141, 152, 102 S.Ct. 3014, 73 L.Ed.2d 664 (1982). Although it is often necessary to examine legislative history to determine whether Congress intended to preempt state law, "[w]hen a federal statute unambiguously precludes certain types of state [law], we need go no further than the statutory language to determine whether the state [law] is preempted." Exxon Corp. v. Hunt, 475 U.S. 355, 362, 106 S.Ct. 1103, 1109, 89 L.Ed.2d 364 (1986).

This is an express preemption case. The 1976 Medical Device Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, specifically, 21 U.S.C. § 360(k) and the...

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12 practice notes
  • Wade v. Whalen, No. A98A0068.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 4 Junio 1998
    ...[232 Ga. App. 772] higher standard in evaluating problems with service outside the statute of limitation. In Poloney v. Tambrands, Inc., 260 Ga. 850(2), 412 S.E.2d 526 (1991), the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's finding that the plaintiffs were diligent in effecting service. In Pol......
  • National Bank of Commerce of El Dorado v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., KIMBERLY-CLARK
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 19 Diciembre 1994
    ...Inc., 678 F.Supp. 1571 (N.D.Ga.1987); Stewart v. International Playtex, Inc., 672 F.Supp. 907 (D.S.C.1987); Poloney v. Tambrands, Inc., 260 Ga. 850, 412 S.E.2d 526 (1991); Lulov v. Tambrands, Inc., 198 A.D.2d 479, 604 N.Y.S.2d 206 (App.Div.1993); Berger v. Personal Prods., Inc., 115 Wash.2d......
  • Fox v. Norfolk S. Corp., A17A0319
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 23 Junio 2017
    ...and the alleged operation of that locomotive at excessive speeds were preempted by federal law). But see Poloney v. Tambrands, Inc. , 260 Ga. 850, 851 (1), 412 S.E.2d 526 (1991) (direct appeal to Supreme Court from trial court's grant of partial summary judgment to defendant based on its fi......
  • ICI Americas, Inc. v. Banks, No. A93A1303
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 3 Diciembre 1993
    ...and expressly pre-empted state law tort claims based on the inadequacy of warning labels on tampons. See Poloney v. Tambrands, Inc., 260 Ga. 850, 412 S.E.2d 526...
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Wade v. Whalen, No. A98A0068.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 4 Junio 1998
    ...[232 Ga. App. 772] higher standard in evaluating problems with service outside the statute of limitation. In Poloney v. Tambrands, Inc., 260 Ga. 850(2), 412 S.E.2d 526 (1991), the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's finding that the plaintiffs were diligent in effecting service. In Pol......
  • National Bank of Commerce of El Dorado v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., KIMBERLY-CLARK
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • 19 Diciembre 1994
    ...Inc., 678 F.Supp. 1571 (N.D.Ga.1987); Stewart v. International Playtex, Inc., 672 F.Supp. 907 (D.S.C.1987); Poloney v. Tambrands, Inc., 260 Ga. 850, 412 S.E.2d 526 (1991); Lulov v. Tambrands, Inc., 198 A.D.2d 479, 604 N.Y.S.2d 206 (App.Div.1993); Berger v. Personal Prods., Inc., 115 Wash.2d......
  • Fox v. Norfolk S. Corp., A17A0319
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 23 Junio 2017
    ...and the alleged operation of that locomotive at excessive speeds were preempted by federal law). But see Poloney v. Tambrands, Inc. , 260 Ga. 850, 851 (1), 412 S.E.2d 526 (1991) (direct appeal to Supreme Court from trial court's grant of partial summary judgment to defendant based on its fi......
  • ICI Americas, Inc. v. Banks, No. A93A1303
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 3 Diciembre 1993
    ...and expressly pre-empted state law tort claims based on the inadequacy of warning labels on tampons. See Poloney v. Tambrands, Inc., 260 Ga. 850, 412 S.E.2d 526...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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