California Court of Appeals Rejects Gilead’s Mischaracterization of Plaintiffs’ Negligence Claim

An important decision was reached on January 9, 2024 by the California Court of Appeal in Gilead Tenofovir Cases, in which Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP, along with its partner firms and other plaintiff firm groups, represent thousands of clients suing Gilead Life Sciences, Inc. for marketing HIV medication it had to know was more dangerous than medication it had simultaneously developed.  The Court upheld the trial court’s ruling that Gilead could be taken to trial on a theory of negligence, a claim which Gilead sought to remove from the case via summary judgement.

The Court carefully and repeatedly rejected Gilead’s mischaracterization of plaintiffs’ negligence claim and specifically rejected the notion that liability associated with the use of a product requires said product to be defective.  It ruled that “although moral blame ‘can be difficult to assess in the absence of a factual record,’ we conclude based on the considerations above that negligence in a decision that deprives people of a safer drug and leaves them reliant on a more dangerous drug is morally blameworthy.”  (Internal cites omitted).  It added that manufacturers are “simply [required] to act with reasonable care for the users of the existing drug when the manufacturer has developed an alternative that it knows is safer and at least equally efficacious.”

As the Gilead Tenofovir Cases move forward, CGL is exited to continue the fight to get justice for our clients.