Michigan Appellate Digest
Attorney General v Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp
View Docket Sheet
Released: March 17, 2011
Panel: Sawyer, Fitzgerald (dissenting), SAAD
292 Mich App 1; 807 NW2d 343, lv den 490 Mich 878; 803 NW2d 696 (2011)
Opinion - Authored - Published View Opinion
Opinion - Dissenting View Opinion
Welfare - Medicaid - False Claim - Prohibition
Under the Medicaid False Claim Act, a person may not make or present or cause to be made or presented to an employee or officer of the state a claim under the Social Welfare Act, upon or against the state, knowing the claim to be false. A person may not make or present or cause to be made or presented a claim under the SWA that he knows falsely represents that the goods or services for which the claim is made were medically necessary in accordance with professionally accepted standards.
Summary Disposition - Review - Standard
A trial court’s grant of summary disposition is reviewed de novo on appeal.
Summary Disposition - Failure to State a Claim - Standard
A motion for summary disposition based on the failure to state a claim tests the legal sufficiency of a claim on the basis of the pleadings alone. The motion is properly granted if the claim is so unenforceable as a matter of law that no factual development could possibly justify recovery.
Statutes - Construction - Review - Standard
Statutory interpretation is reviewed de novo as a question of law.
Products Liability - Defense - Immunity - Drugs - FDA Approval
In a product liability action against a manufacturer or seller, a product which is a drug is not defective or unreasonably dangerous, and the manufacturer or seller is not liable, if the drug was approved for safety and efficacy by the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the drug and its labeling were in compliance with the FDA’s approval at the time the drug left the control of the manufacturer or seller.
Civil Procedure - Pleadings - Nature of Claim - Determination
In determining the nature of a claim, a court is not bound by the label attached to it by the party, but instead must determine the gravamen of the claim in its entirety.
Products Liability - Claim - Definition
A product liability action is an action based on a legal or equitable theory of liability brought for the death of a person or for an injury to a person or damage to property caused by or resulting from the production of a product.
Products Liability - Production - Definition
As to a product liability action, “production” encompasses manufacture, construction, design, formulation, development of standards, preparation, processing, assembly, inspection, testing, listing, certifying, warning, instruction, marketing, selling, advertising, packaging, or labeling.
Statutes - Construction - Plain Meaning
The primary goal of judicial interpretation of statutes is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the Legislature. The first step is to examine the plain language of the statute itself. The Legislature is presumed to have intended the meaning it plainly expressed, and if the statutory language is clear, further judicial construction is not permitted.
Products Liability - Defense - Immunity - Drugs - FDA Approval - Applicability - Nature of Claim - Determination
A claim against a drug manufacturer is a product liability action precluded by immunity if (1) the action is based on a legal or equitable theory of liability, (2) the action is brought for the death of a person or for injury to a person or damage to property, and (3) that loss was caused by or resulted from the construction, design, formulation, development of standards, preparation, processing, assembly, inspection, testing, listing, certifying, warning, instructing, marketing, selling, advertising, packaging, or labeling of a product. In this case, the defendant drug manufacturer developed a pain reliever which was approved as to use and labeling by the FDA in 1999. Between 1999 and 2004, the drug was prescribed to recipients of Medicaid benefits and the plaintiff state reimbursed providers and dispensers of the drug. Information after FDA approval indicated that users of the drug suffered an increased risk of heart attack, and the defendant removed the drug from the market in 2004. The plaintiff brought suit, asserting that the defendant had made false and deceptive statements regarding the safety and efficacy of its drug which prompted payments of Medicaid benefits, in violation of the MFCA. The defendant moved for summary disposition on the basis that the claim was one in products liability precluded by the drug manufacturer immunity statute. The trial court denied summary disposition. However, the claims were legal and equitable for injury to property based on the production of a product and misrepresentations as to its safety and efficacy, and thus the claims were for product liability within the scope of drug manufacturer immunity. Under the circumstances, the trial court improperly denied summary disposition for the defendant.
Civil Procedure - Pleadings - Nature of Claim - Property Damage - Money Payment
Generally, a person whose property is diminished by a payment of money wrongfully induced is injured in his property.