As we noted yesterday, Halloween may be behind us, but the scary decisions just keep on coming. Just about a month ago, we blogged about pending legislation (H.R. 3624), known as the “Fraudulent Joinder Prevention Act of 2015.” Today we blog about a case that demonstrates why that legislation is needed.
The case is Rosbeck v. Corin Group, PLC, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145621 (D. Mass. Oct. 26, 2015). Plaintiff filed suit in state court in Massachusetts alleging he suffered injury as the result of the implantation of a hip resurfacing system. Plaintiff sued the manufacturers of the implant for negligence, breach of warranty, and consumer fraud. Plaintiff also sued the hospital at which the surgery was performed for breach of warranty. Id. at *6. The manufacturers, being diverse defendants, removed the case to federal court alleging that the non-diverse hospital was fraudulently joined. Id. at *2. Plaintiffs moved to remand.
Under First Circuit law, on a motion to remand, the manufacturing defendants had the burden of proving that plaintiff does not have a “reasonable possibility” of recovery against the non-diverse hospital. Id. at *7. Defendants asserted three reasons why they met that burden: (1) Massachusetts doesn’t recognize a claim for breach of warranty against a hospital for supplying a medical device as part of treatment; (2) the claim against the hospital is preempted; and (3) the claim against the hospital is barred by the stature of limitations. Id. at *10.