Subject to the other provisions of this section, a covered person shall be immune from suit and liability under Federal and State law with respect to all claims for loss caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the administration to or the use by an individual of a covered countermeasure if a declaration under subsection (b) has been issued with respect to such countermeasure.
The immunity under paragraph (1) applies to any claim for loss that has a causal relationship with the administration to or use by an individual of a covered countermeasure, including a causal relationship with the design, development, clinical testing or investigation, manufacture, labeling, distribution, formulation, packaging, marketing, promotion, sale, purchase, donation, dispensing, prescribing, administration, licensing, or use of such countermeasure.
The provisions of this section apply to a covered countermeasure regardless of whether such countermeasure is obtained by donation, commercial sale, or any other means of distribution, except to the extent that, under paragraph (2)(E) of subsection (b), the declaration under such subsection provides that subsection (a) applies only to covered countermeasures obtained through a particular means of distribution.
For purposes of paragraph (1), there shall be a rebuttable presumption that any administration or use, during the effective period of the emergency declaration by the Secretary under subsection (b), of a covered countermeasure shall have been for the category or categories of diseases, health conditions, or threats to health with respect to which such declaration was issued.
Subject to paragraph (2), if the Secretary makes a determination that a disease or other health condition or other threat to health constitutes a public health emergency, or that there is a credible risk that the disease, condition, or threat may in the future constitute such an emergency, the Secretary may make a declaration, through publication in the Federal Register, recommending, under conditions as the Secretary may specify, the manufacture, testing, development, distribution, administration, or use of one or more covered countermeasures, and stating that subsection (a) is in effect with respect to the activities so recommended.
With respect to a covered countermeasure that is in the stockpile under section 247d–6b of this title, if such countermeasure was the subject of a declaration under paragraph (1) at the time that it was obtained for the stockpile, the effective period of such declaration shall include a period when the countermeasure is administered or used pursuant to a distribution or release from the stockpile.
In deciding whether and under what circumstances or conditions to issue a declaration under paragraph (1) with respect to a covered countermeasure, the Secretary shall consider the desirability of encouraging the design, development, clinical testing or investigation, manufacture, labeling, distribution, formulation, packaging, marketing, promotion, sale, purchase, donation, dispensing, prescribing, administration, licensing, and use of such countermeasure.
Within 30 days after making a declaration under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall submit to the appropriate committees of the Congress a report that provides an explanation of the reasons for issuing the declaration and the reasons underlying the determinations of the Secretary with respect to paragraph (2). Within 30 days after making an amendment under paragraph (4), the Secretary shall submit to such committees a report that provides the reasons underlying the determination of the Secretary to make the amendment.
The regulations under this paragraph may specify the temporal effect that they shall be given for purposes of subsection (d).
Within 180 days after December 30, 2005, the Secretary, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall commence and complete an initial rulemaking process under this paragraph.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a program planner or qualified person shall not have engaged in “willful misconduct” as a matter of law where such program planner or qualified person acted consistent with applicable directions, guidelines, or recommendations by the Secretary regarding the administration or use of a covered countermeasure that is specified in the declaration under subsection (b), provided either the Secretary, or a State or local health authority, was provided with notice of information regarding serious physical injury or death from the administration or use of a covered countermeasure that is material to the plaintiff’s alleged loss within 7 days of the actual discovery of such information by such program planner or qualified person.
The term “enforcement action” means a criminal prosecution, an action seeking an injunction, a seizure action, a civil monetary proceeding based on willful misconduct, a mandatory recall of a product because voluntary recall was refused, a proceeding to compel repair or replacement of a product, a termination of an exemption under section 505(i) or 520(g) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. 355(i), 360j(g)], a debarment proceeding, an investigator disqualification proceeding where an investigator is an employee or agent of the manufacturer, a revocation, based on willful misconduct, of an authorization under section 564 of such Act [21 U.S.C. 360bbb–3], or a suspension or withdrawal, based on willful misconduct, of an approval or clearance under chapter V of such Act [21 U.S.C. 351 et seq.] or of a licensure under section 262 of this title.
Subject to subsection (f), the sole exception to the immunity from suit and liability of covered persons set forth in subsection (a) shall be for an exclusive Federal cause of action against a covered person for death or serious physical injury proximately caused by willful misconduct, as defined pursuant to subsection (c), by such covered person. For purposes of section 2679(b)(2)(B) of title 28, such a cause of action is not an action brought for violation of a statute of the United States under which an action against an individual is otherwise authorized.
Any action under subsection (d) shall be filed and maintained only in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
The substantive law for decision in an action under subsection (d) shall be derived from the law, including choice of law principles, of the State in which the alleged willful misconduct occurred, unless such law is inconsistent with or preempted by Federal law, including provisions of this section.
In an action under subsection (d), the plaintiff shall verify the complaint in the manner stated in subparagraph (B) and shall file with the complaint the materials described in subparagraph (C). A complaint that does not substantially comply with subparagraphs (B) and (C) shall not be accepted for filing and shall not stop the running of the statute of limitations.
The complaint shall include a verification, made by affidavit of the plaintiff under oath, stating that the pleading is true to the knowledge of the deponent, except as to matters specifically identified as being alleged on information and belief, and that as to those matters the plaintiff believes it to be true.
Any action under subsection (d) shall be assigned initially to a panel of three judges. Such panel shall have jurisdiction over such action for purposes of considering motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and matters related thereto. If such panel has denied such motions, or if the time for filing such motions has expired, such panel shall refer the action to the chief judge for assignment for further proceedings, including any trial. Section 1253 of title 28 and paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of section 2284 of title 28 shall not apply to actions under subsection (d).
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court in an action under subsection (d) shall permit discovery only with respect to matters directly related to material issues contested in such action, and the court shall compel a response to a discovery request (including a request for admission, an interrogatory, a request for production of documents, or any other form of discovery request) under Rule 37, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, only if the court finds that the requesting party needs the information sought to prove or defend as to a material issue contested in such action and that the likely benefits of a response to such request equal or exceed the burden or cost for the responding party of providing such response.
In an action under subsection (d), any noneconomic damages may be awarded only in an amount directly proportional to the percentage of responsibility of a defendant for the harm to the plaintiff. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “noneconomic damages” means damages for losses for physical and emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium, hedonic damages, injury to reputation, and any other nonpecuniary losses.
Whenever a district court of the United States determines that there has been a violation of Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in an action under subsection (d), the court shall impose upon the attorney, law firm, or parties that have violated Rule 11 or are responsible for the violation, an appropriate sanction, which may include an order to pay the other party or parties for the reasonable expenses incurred as a direct result of the filing of the pleading, motion, or other paper that is the subject of the violation, including a reasonable attorney’s fee. Such sanction shall be sufficient to deter repetition of such conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated, and to compensate the party or parties injured by such conduct.
The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit shall have jurisdiction of an interlocutory appeal by a covered person taken within 30 days of an order denying a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment based on an assertion of the immunity from suit conferred by subsection (a) or based on an assertion of the exclusion under subsection (c)(5).
Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate or limit any right, remedy, or authority that the United States or any agency thereof may possess under any other provision of law or to waive sovereign immunity or to abrogate or limit any defense or protection available to the United States or its agencies, instrumentalities, officers, or employees under any other law, including any provision of chapter 171 of title 28 (relating to tort claims procedure).
The term “distributor” means a person or entity engaged in the distribution of drugs, biologics, or devices, including but not limited to manufacturers; repackers; common carriers; contract carriers; air carriers; own-label distributors; private-label distributors; jobbers; brokers; warehouses, and wholesale drug warehouses; independent wholesale drug traders; and retail pharmacies.
The term “program planner” means a State or local government, including an Indian tribe, a person employed by the State or local government, or other person who supervised or administered a program with respect to the administration, dispensing, distribution, provision, or use of a security countermeasure or a qualified pandemic or epidemic product, including a person who has established requirements, provided policy guidance, or supplied technical or scientific advice or assistance or provides a facility to administer or use a covered countermeasure in accordance with a declaration under subsection (b).