Foreign Regulatory Evidence in Products Liability Cases

Legal Translation Services for Product Liability Cases

Earlier we blogged about language translation in the context of products liability claims in the presence of the English only warnings. Foreign language translation becomes even more relevant in product liability cases when the issue of foreign regulatory evidence arises in pharmaceutical lawsuits, mainly due to the international scope of pharmaceutical sales.

The central issue is whether or not a foreign language warning for the same or similar drug used in a foreign country can be offered as evidence to show why the English based label in the U.S. is insufficient. The answer comes from the Rules of Evidence, particularly Rule 403 and relevancy. Rule 403 argument states foreign regulatory evidence is prejudicial in that it illogically concludes a U.S. company should be held to the same standard as that of companies in a foreign jurisdiction.

Although this seems like a logical argument, the courts have been surprisingly reluctant to agree. In fact, there is an entire body of decisions that have refused to find foreign regulatory evidence irrelevant as a matter of law. In re Rezulin Prods. Liab. Litig., 309 F. Supp. 2d 531, 552 (S.D.N.Y. 2004).

Essentially this means that some courts require foreign regulatory evidence to be either proved relevant or irrelevant before making a ruling. To do this, a foreign language translation will be needed and, typically, an expert witness who is able to translate/ interpret the foreign language will be required for testimonial evidence.




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and Enforcing U.S. Judgments in Europe