Ramirez v. Plough, Inc.

6 Cal. 4th 539, 25 Cal. Rptr. 2d 97, 863 P.2d 167 (1993)



The formulation of the standard of care is a question of law for the court. Once the court has formulated the standard, its application to the facts of the case is a task for the trier of fact if reasonable minds might differ as to whether the defendant's conduct has conformed to the standard.


Plaintiff minor contracted Reye's syndrome after his mother gave him a nonprescription drug, aspirin, which was manufactured and distributed by defendant drug company. Plaintiff brought an action against defendant, alleging negligence because defendant distributed the product with warnings in English only. The trial court granted summary judgment for defendant. The court of appeals reversed holding that a genuine issue of fact existed as to the adequacy of defendant's warning.On review, the court reversed


Did defendant's duty to warn require it to provide label or package warnings in Spanish?




The supreme court reversed the court of appeals' judgment, holding that defendant was under no duty to label the product with Spanish language warnings. The supreme court was unwilling to reject the applicable statutes and regulations as the proper standard of conduct. The supreme court adopted, for tort purposes, the existing legislative and administrative standard of care on the issue of foreign-language label and package warnings and determined that both federal and state law mandated warnings in English only.

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