Bates v. Dow Agrosciences: Will the Lower Courts Finally Start Listening?
Product Safety & Liability Report (BNA), Vol. 33, pp. 949-954, 2005
8 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2013
Date Written: September 26, 2005
The federal government regulates the marketing of many consumer goods, under various statutes. Some of these regulatory schemes do very little; others require an agency to examine a product’s safety and effectiveness before it can be sold. These statutes provide no damages remedies for consumers who may be injured; state common law has been the traditional means of relief.
Congress has the power to expressly preempt state common-law actions, but the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly directed lower courts to interpret preemption provisions narrowly. The Court reiterated that principle in its most recent preemption decision, Bates v. Dow Agrosciences LLC. In this analysis, authors Daniel Mosteller and Brian Wolfman discuss the background of the Bates decision and predict its effects, in light of the lower courts’ recent tendency to rule in favor of defendants in tort preemption cases.
Keywords: tort preemption, Bates v. Dow Agrosciences, tort claims, federal regulation of consumer goods, Congress, lower courts, litigation, consumer protection
JEL Classification: K13, K32, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation