Law School Case Brief
Wash. State Physicians Ins. Exch. & Ass'n v. Fisons Corp. - 122 Wash. 2d 299, 858 P.2d 1054 (1993)
Under the Consumer Protection Act, Wash. Rev. Code § 19.86, a physician whose reputation is injured has standing to sue a drug company, which engaged in an unfair or deceptive trade practice by failing to warn the physician of the dangers of its drug about which it had knowledge. A physician may be able to recover pecuniary damages for damages to reputation; however, the physician's emotional pain and suffering are not recoverable under either the Consumer Protection Act, Wash. Rev. Code § 19.86 or the Product Liability Act, § 7.72.
A physician and his insurer sought damages from a drug company after the parties had settled an action by a two year-old girl who sustained brain damage as a result of a drug prescribed by the physician and manufactured by the drug company. The physician alleged that his reputation was tarnished when the drug he properly prescribed left a two year-old girl brain-damaged. He further claimed that the drug company failed to warn him of the risks associated with the drug. The trial court entered a judgment, including attorney fees, on a verdict in favor of the physician on product liability and Consumer Protection Act claims. The jury found in favor of the drug company on the plaintiffs' fraud claims.
Were claims for damages for a physician's pain and suffering actionable under the Consumer Protection Act, along with his claims for loss of reputation against a drug manufacturer arising out the physician's prescribing of a drug that caused injury to a patient?
The court affirmed the trial court's judgment. The court held that respondent had standing to bring the Consumer Protection Act claim, and there was sufficient evidence of the elements of that claim. Also, the trial court did not err in calculating the attorney fee award. However, the court found that the doctor had no right to recover for his own pain and suffering under either the Consumer Protection Act or product liability claims and he had no independent right of action for negligence. The insurer also had no right of action under the Consumer Protection Act.
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