Idaho State Court Rejects Innovator Liability Claims Against Novartis

September 25, 2019

An Idaho state court judge concluded that plaintiffs failed to state a claim under Idaho law for innovator liability-styled claims against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. This is the first Idaho court to consider whether the state would recognize “innovator liability” as a theory under which to hold name-brand drug manufacturers liable for injuries allegedly caused by an individual’s ingestion of a generic version of the drug.

Judge Richard D. Greenwood of the District Court for the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho issued a memorandum decision on Novartis’s Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss all counts of the amended complaint, including negligent failure to warn, fraud, negligence per se, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and intention or negligent inflection of emotional distress, concluding that, under Idaho law, “the manufacturer of a product cannot be held liable where its product did not cause the alleged harm.”  The court held its order dismissing Novartis in abeyance, pending an initial determination whether the court has jurisdiction over Novartis.

Judge Greenwood’s decision is in accord with the great weight of authority nationwide on the question of innovator liability. See, e.g., McNair v. Johnson & Johnson, 241 W. Va. 26, 8181 S.E.2d 852 (2018); Guarino v. Wyeth, LLC, 719 F.3d 1245 (11th Cir. 2013).

Stirling v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., et al., No. CV01-18-4880 (Sept. 25, 2019)