Tennessee Supreme Court

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Tennessee Supreme Court rejects attempt to eliminate well-established “learned intermediary” defense

August 14, 2013

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s declined to certify two questions from Western District of Tennessee regarding whether Tennessee should eliminate the “learned intermediary” defense in pharmaceutical tort cases.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

May 31, 2013

The U.S. Chamber asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to reaffirm the well-established “learned intermediary” defense for failure-to-warn lawsuits brought against drug and device manufacturers. Under current Tennessee law, drug and device manufacturers satisfy their “duty to warn” by warning the prescribing physician of the risks of the products. In this case, the plaintiffs have asked the Tennessee Supreme Court to completely eliminate the “learned intermediary” defense or, in the alternative, create a new exemption that would prohibit companies that directly market to consumers from relying on the defense. The Chamber's amicus brief warned that, if the Tennessee Supreme Court were to eliminate the doctrine, the risk of increased liability would deter medical companies from producing new drugs and devices, meaning fewer innovative treatments would be available to those who need them.

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