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Thibodeaux v. Sanofi U.S. Services, Inc.

Court: US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Dockets: 20-30104, 20-30107

Opinion Date: April 21, 2021

Judge: Leslie H. Southwick

Areas of Law: Drugs & Biotech, Personal Injury

Plaintiffs, three women who suffered persistent hair loss after chemotherapy treatments, sued as a part of multidistrict litigation (MDL) against distributors of the drug Taxotere (docetaxel) for permanent chemotherapy-induced hair loss, asserting a failure-to-warn claim. Louisiana law provides a one-year liberative prescription period for product-liability cases. Furthermore, under Louisiana law, there is a firmly rooted equitable-tolling doctrine known as contra non-valentem agere non-currit prescription, which means “[n]o prescription runs against a person unable to bring an action.” The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment in favor of Sanofi, agreeing with the district court that plaintiffs’ claims are facially prescribed. The court interpreted Louisiana law to require that once hair loss persisted after six months, contra non-valentem tolled the prescription period until the point when a prospective plaintiff through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have “considered [Taxotere] as a potential root cause of” her injury. In this case, the court concluded that plaintiffs did not act reasonably in light of their injuries and their causes of action were reasonably knowable in excess of one year prior to their filing suit. Therefore, Louisiana’s equitable tolling doctrine of contra non-valentem did not save plaintiffs’ claims.

This case law update is brought to you by Freeway Law, personal injury, and motor vehicle crash lawyers. The following is not one of our cases, but it is of some significance, and we thought we should share it with our readers for informational purposes. The information above is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.

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