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Engelhard v. Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Ltd.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

March 11, 2015

Paul Engelhard, Plaintiff,
v.
Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Ltd. and R.P. Scherer Corporation, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN ROBERT BLAKEY, District Judge.

This products liability action arises from injuries Plaintiff Paul Engelhard purportedly sustained after taking two capsules of Advil Liqui-Gels without food and then laying down. Plaintiff brought failure to warn and defective design claims against the manufacturers of Advil Liquid-Gels, Defendants Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Ltd. and R.P. Scherer Corporation. Compl. [1-2] Counts I-II. Currently, only the failure to warn claim (Count I) remains. Defs.' Statement of Facts ("DSOF") [89] ¶ 44.

Defendants have moved for summary judgment [87]. They argue that Plaintiff has failed to satisfy three of the four elements required to maintain a failure to warn claim at this stage in the proceedings. [88] at 12. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

I. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Spurling v. C & M Fine Pack, Inc., 739 F.3d 1055, 1060 (7th Cir. 2014). A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, this Court must construe all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See CTL ex rel. Trebatoski v. Ashland School District, 743 F.3d 524, 528 (7th Cir. 2014).

II. Background

A. Advil Liqui-Gels

Defendants are the manufacturers of Advil Liqui-Gels. Compl. [1-2] Count I ¶¶ 1-3. Advil Liqui-Gels are a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ("NSAID")-a class of medications widely used to alleviate pain and reduce fever. DSOF [89] ¶¶ 5-6. Advil Liqui-Gels consist of a one-piece, soft gelatin capsule containing 200 mg of ibuprofen dissolved in a liquid fill contained in the gelatin capsule. DSOF [89] ¶ 12.

The FDA approved Advil Liqui-Gels for over-the-counter use in adults in 1995. DSOF [89] ¶ 10. A stomach bleeding warning was added to Advil Liqui-Gels (and other Advil products) in 1999. Romano Decl. [90] ¶ 8. The Advil Liqui-Gels that Plaintiff used included the following warning about stomach bleeding:

Stomach bleeding warning: This product contains a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which may cause stomach bleeding. The chance is higher if you: 25aa are age 60 or older 25aa have had stomach ulcers or bleeding problems 25aa take a blood thinning (anticoagulant) or steroid drug 25aa take other drugs containing an NSAID (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or others) 25aa have 3 or more alcoholic drinks every day while using this product 25aa take more or for a longer time than directed[.]

DSOF [89] ¶ 25.

B. Injury

On Friday, April 14, 2006, Plaintiff, who was then 52 years old and generally healthy, took two Advil Liqui-Gel capsules with water but without food. DSOF [89] ¶¶ 40, 45; Pl.'s Statement of Additional Facts ("PSOAF") [96] ¶¶ 1-2; Discharge Summary [96-1]. He went to bed and slept until Saturday morning. DSOF [89] ¶ 40; PSOAF [96] ¶ 2.

On Saturday night, Plaintiff began to experience symptoms of a stomach bleed and was hospitalized the next day (Sunday). DSOF [89] ¶ 42; PSOAF [96] ¶ 4. Plaintiff was diagnosed with a "bleeding gastric ulcer" in the very upper portion of the stomach. DSOF [89] ¶ 39; PSOAF [96] ¶ 5; Discharge Summary [96-1]. Dr. Mark Blitstein, who treated Plaintiff's ulcer, has opined in this litigation that Plaintiff would not have ...


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