MONTGOMERY – The Business Council of Alabama released the following statement regarding the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling in Weeks v. Wyeth, et al. that a company can be held liable for injuries allegedly caused by a product it neither manufactured nor distributed:
“We were disappointed by the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision. As Justice Murdock noted in his dissenting opinion, ‘The corollary notion that parties are responsible for their own products, not those of others, [is] so organic to western economic and legal thought that they rarely find need of expression.’ Allowing brand-name manufacturers to be held liable for harms allegedly caused by their competitors’ products has the potential to once again make Alabama a hotbed for litigation and threatens the state’s economy. If not promptly corrected by the Legislature, this decision will put the state at a great disadvantage in attracting new business investment, which is a key to bringing economic growth and jobs to our state,” said William Canary, BCA President and CEO.
In his dissent, Justice Glenn Murdock notes that by today’s ruling, “This Court creates a precedent that poses danger for the prescription-medicine industry and, by extension, for all industry.”
Prior to the Alabama Supreme Court’s initial decision in 2013, courts nationwide, now 98 in all, applying the law of 30 different States and including all six U.S. Courts of Appeals to consider the question, had roundly rejected the so-called “innovator-liability” theory. Only three other courts nationwide have adopted “innovator liability” under other States’ laws—an intermediate appellate court in California and federal trial courts in Illinois and Vermont.
The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly one million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 15, 2014
Contact: Nancy Wall Hewston (334) 834-6000