Graham by Graham v. Wyeth Laboratories, a Division of American Home Products Corp.

666 F. Supp. 1483 (1987)

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Graham by Graham v. Wyeth Laboratories, a Division of American Home Products Corp.

United States District Court for the District of Kansas
666 F. Supp. 1483 (1987)

  • Written by Tanya Munson, JD

Facts

Charles and Tammy Graham’s daughter, Michelle Graham (plaintiffs), sustained serious and irreversible brain damage after receiving a diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) vaccine that was manufactured and distributed by Wyeth Laboratories (defendant). Before the administration of the vaccine to Michelle Graham, Mrs. Graham was given materials to read about the DPT vaccine and was asked to sign a consent form. When Mrs. Graham voiced concern over the potential side effects of the vaccine, the attending nurse dismissed her questions and told Mrs. Graham the side effects did not happen and that the state would immunize Michelle Graham and place her in foster care if Mrs. Graham did not agree to the vaccine. Mrs. Graham agreed to the vaccine, and shortly after it was administered, Michelle Graham developed the neurological condition of encephalopathy. The Grahams alleged that Wyeth had the ability to develop a safer alternative to the vaccine or take precautions to reduce risk in the administration of the vaccine, but they refused to do so because of an increase in manufacturing cost. The Grahams filed suit against Wyeth on theories of strict liability and negligence for design defect and failure to warn, breach of implied warranties, and intentional misrepresentation. Wyeth moved for summary judgment as to each of the Grahams’ claims, asserting that vaccines are unavoidably unsafe and thus immune from challenges of design defect and that the warnings Wyeth gave must be found as adequate as a matter of law.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kelly, J.)

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