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Feldman v. Lederle Laboratories

Supreme Court of New Jersey
479 A.2d 374 (1984)


Facts

Carol Ann Feldman (plaintiff) took a prescription tetracycline antibiotic manufactured by Lederle Laboratories (Lederle) (defendant) from 1960 to 1963. The drug discolored teeth as a side effect, and Feldman’s teeth turned gray. Feldman sued Lederle under a strict-liability theory for failing to warn of the side effect. There was literature in 1960 that indicated that tetracycline caused tooth discoloration. Lederle’s expert witness presented evidence that, prior to 1962, any literature referring to tooth discoloration involved patients with cystic fibrosis who had been receiving heavy doses of the drug. Lederle also argued that strict liability should not apply to side effects of prescription drugs. Lederle relied on the Second Restatement of Torts § 402A, comment k, which shielded manufacturers from liability for drugs that were unavoidably unsafe so long as the drugs were accompanied by proper warning. The trial court established 1960 as the date on which Lederle should have known of the side effect of tetracycline. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Lederle. The appellate court affirmed. Feldman appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Schreiber, J.)

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