Thursday, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided Rowe v. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc., reversing an appellate court that had misapplied basic conflict-of-laws principles to hold that New Jersey law applied to any suit filed in New Jersey against a New Jersey domiciled drug manufacturer. (The plaintiff wished to get around Michigan's pharmaceutical immunity law to sue over Accutane use.) That decision is fairly straightforward and obvious (though somehow two judges on the court dissented), and would hardly be notable—except that a lower court based its certification of the $27 billion Engineers Vioxx nationwide class on the lower court's Rowe ruling. As Beck and Herrmann conclude in their extensive analysis, "the handwriting�s probably on the wall for that one."
The webcast of the Engineers oral argument starts ninety seconds after the argument does, but it has 53 minutes of the argument.