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Reutzel v. Spartan Chem. Co.

ELR Citation: 26 ELR 20665
Nos. No. C 92-3075, 903 F. Supp. 1272/(N.D. Iowa, 10/06/1995)

The court holds that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) preempts state-law inadequate labeling or warnings claims a consumer brought against the manufacturer of an acid cleaner to which the consumer had an allergic reaction. The court first notes that the federal circuit courts agree that FIFRA preempts state common-law actions premised on a failure to warn or properly label. The court holds that FIFRA preempts the consumer's state-law strict liability and negligence claims to the extent they are based on inadequate labeling or warnings. The court next holds that FIFRA does not preempt the consumer's remaining claims for negligence and strict liability, which are based on state-law theories of defective design and manufacture. The court denies the manufacturer's summary judgment motion on the consumer's warranty claim because there is insufficient evidence to conduct an analysis to determine if the claim is preempted by FIFRA. Last, the court holds that the manufacturer's alleged failure to comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations regarding its product does not estop it from asserting FIFRA preemption. Congress determined that the FDA, and not the judiciary, had the task of ensuring that insecticides, fungicides, and rodenticides comply with FIFRA. Alternatively, the consumer failed to place evidence before the court that showed that the manufacturer had intentionally concealed a material fact.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Michael J. Carroll
Dwight W. James & Associates
630 Equitable Bldg., Des Moines IA 50309
(515) 246-8484

Counsel for Defendant
L.W. Rosebrook
Ahlers, Cooney, Dorweiler, Haynie, Smith & Allbee
100 Court Ave., Ste. 600, Des Moines IA 50309
(515) 243-7611