Tuesday, May 1, 2012

DOJ/FDA reply to Franck's and Amici Waiver Argument

In addressing the waiver argument raised by Franck's and amici, DOJ/FDA contends:
The government's brief cites numerous instances in the record where it argued and documented that the factual basis of this action for injunctive relief is that Franck's animal drug compounding activities exceed the bounds of traditional pharmacy compounding and are indicative of large-scale drug manufacturing, as described in CPG 608.400.
DOJ/FDA also explains that this case involves a question of law--not the specific facts--of the case.  It  states,  "To be sure, the fundamental issue in this case is a question of law, the resolution of which depends on analysis of the FDCA, not on any specific facts."  Nonetheless, DOJ/FDA argues it is both necessary and logical to discuss FDA's enforcement policy and application of that policy to the facts on which the complaint for injunctive relief was based.  DOJ/FDA argues it has not waived the argument because it has not belatedly raised a new theory.  More specifically, its brief contains the following argument:
Contrary to Franck's claims, the government has not belatedly raised an "alternative theory" of its case – that compounded animal drugs are unlawful only when prepared in an operation resembling manufacturing. There is but one theory of this case: New animal drugs compounded by pharmacies are not exempt from the FDCA and never were, and they are accordingly subject to FDA's enforcement authority. However, FDA recognizes that compounded animal drugs can serve beneficial public health purposes. Thus, pursuant to its consistent, longstanding policy, FDA undertakes enforcement action against compounding pharmacies only when the scope and nature of their activities "raise the kinds of concerns normally associated with a drug manufacturer and result in significant [FDCA] violations." CPG 608.400, Doc. 17-2, Ex. A at 4. Because Franck's animal drug compounding operations raise such concerns, the government brought this action to enjoin Franck's further violations of the Act. That has been the government's position throughout this litigation. 
Ultimately, DOJ/FDA contends that government counsel's previous comments at the district court level are not sufficient to show waiver:
Citing excerpts from government counsel's responses to questions during district court oral argument, Franck's Lab contends further that FDA has waived certain other arguments, e.g., the relevance of AMDUCA and other FDCA provisions to the statutory interpretation question at issue. As FDA's opening brief notes (at 41 & n.15), government counsel's comments do not support Franck's waiver claim. Moreover, this Court has held that "waivers and concessions made in appellate oral arguments need to be unambiguous before they are allowed to change the outcome of an appeal," and such comments should be considered in the context of the party's briefs and entire presentation. Crowe v. Coleman, 113 F.3d 1536, 1542 (1997). See also Moose Lodge v. Irvis, 407 U.S. 163, 170, 92 S. Ct. 1965, 1970 (1972) ("We are loath to attach conclusive weight to the relatively spontaneous responses of counsel to equally spontaneous questioning from the Court during oral argument."). That same principle should apply to counsel's comments during district court arguments.Thus, considering the government's complaint, arguments in support of its motions for a preliminary injunction and summary judgment, declarations, and other evidence, snippets of government counsel's argument in district court cannot reasonably be construed as concessions or waivers of any legal arguments. Cf. Savoury v. U.S. Attorney General, 449 F.3d 1307, 1318-19 (11th Cir. 2006) (even if estoppel applies to government, willfulness and negligence, inter alia, must be shown). 

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