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Ramirez v. Plough, Inc.

Supreme Court of California
863 P.2d 167 (1993)


Facts

When Jorge Ramirez (plaintiff) was four months old, he was given a non-prescription drug, St. Joseph Aspirin for Children (SJAC), for relief from cold-like symptoms. After receiving three SJAC tablets over a two-day period, Ramirez’s mother took Ramirez to a hospital, where a doctor prescribed non-aspirin-containing drugs. Ramirez’s mother ignored the advice and continued to provide Ramirez with SJAC. Ramirez subsequently developed Reye’s syndrome and suffered severe neurological damage as a result. At the time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was aware of the relationship between the ingestion of aspirin during a viral illness and Reye’s syndrome, and required a warning label concerning Reye’s syndrome to be displayed on SJAC packaging. Ramirez’s mother sued Plough, Inc. (Plough) (defendant), the manufacturer of SJAC, on Ramirez’s behalf. Although Plough had provided a warning about Reye’s syndrome on the SJAC purchased by Ramirez’s mother, the warning was in English and Ramirez’s mother was only literate in Spanish. The trial court determined that Plough had no duty to provide the warning in a foreign language, and granted Plough’s motion for summary judgment. Ramirez appealed. The court of appeal overturned the decision, holding that the adequacy of the warning provided by Plough was a triable issue of fact. Plough appealed the decision.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kennard, J.)

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