Defense Counsel Journal

IADC Amicus Briefs - Volume 87, Number 1

Volume 87, No. 1

April 30, 2020

Amicus Curiae

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The IADC amicus curiae program has been active in recent months. The following briefs were filed by the IADC since the last Defense Counsel Journal issue:

Jared Effler v. Purdue Pharma (12/24/2019)

In December 2019, the IADC filed an amicus brief urging the Tennessee Supreme Court to hear Effler v. Purdue Pharma in which the court of appeals ruled that manufacturers of legal medicines prescribed lawfully by licensed physicians could be subject to liability under the state’s Drug Dealer Liability Act. This Act, enacted several decades ago, was intended to apply to the illegal drug trade. The ruling being appealed here is the first to apply the Act to product liability questions related to the sale of FDA-approved medicines. As the IADC brief explains, the opioid medications produced by the defendants are legal under state and federal law and sold to licensed distributors, registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency. By contrast, the Act is focused on “illegal” drugs and illegal drug sales, as its repeated references to “illegal” drug suggest. The brief also cautions that the court of appeal’s ruling “will have an impact far beyond the confines of this case. Manufacturers of any prescription medication (not just opioids) will be subject to potential liability under a law clearly targeted at the illegal drug market.” The IADC would like to thank Richard Neumeier of Morrison Mahoney and Charles Michels of Taylor, Pigue, Marchetti & Blair for their excellent work on the brief.

To read the amicus brief filed, click here.


Roddie Melvin v. Federal Express Corporation (12/3/2019)

IADC filed an amicus brief in Melvin v. Federal Express Corp. with the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit on December 3 in a case involving workplace discrimination and retaliation. The purpose of the brief was to explain the value and importance of summary judgment when warranted. It has been IADC’s experience that, over the years, the plaintiffs’ bar and others have endeavored to eliminate summary judgment in such cases. The arguments range from the broad argument that summary judgment violates a plaintiffs’ Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial to the narrower argument that all, or at least a subset of, employment discrimination cases should be excepted from summary judgment because they involve issues of motive and intent.

The IADC brief, in particular, rebutted arguments put forth by the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) in an amicus brief of its own. The NELA brief argued that workers are always entitled to have jurors determine at trial (rather than a judge on summary judgment) whether an employer honestly believed its employment decision was lawful and whether a decision-maker’s discriminatory remarks evidenced discriminatory animus even if the remarks were temporally remote or unrelated to the employment decision. This proposed standard would essentially insulate from summary judgment a wide swatch of employment discrimination cases. The result would skew the balance against the rights of employers opposing non-evidence based claims, requiring even factually insufficient claims to be tried. IADC would like to thank Shannon McKenna and Spencer Silverglate of the law firm Clarke Silverglate in Miami, Florida who authored and filed the excellent brief.

To read the amicus brief filed, click here.

For information on the IADC's amicus brief program and to view past briefs, please visit the Amicus Briefs page on the IADC website.