MSNBC Takes on Federal Medical Device Preemption

Federal preemption of state laws is a dry subject. It puts lawyers and law students asleep.

However, the consequences of preemption can be both real and significant.

The Supreme Court recently in Riegel v. Medtronic decided that a state tort injury actions for defective medical devices are barred when the FDA grants the device premarket approval through the federal Medical Devices Act.

With such a technical ruling, the national media has largely ignored the far-reaching significance of this ruling. However, MSNBC’s Keith Olberman recently took on the federal preemption issue in Riegel–and took the opportunity to bash Bush (shocker!)–in his usual one-sided presentation of facts.

Like Ronald Miller of the Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog, who drew our attention to the video, I’m not a big fan of Olberman. In fact, I’d probably agree to any derogatory term used to describe him and he hasn’t been funny or clever since his time on ESPN. But he deserves some credit for taking notice of this ruling.