Even after having read it through twice, we find the result in Barron v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc., ___ S.W.3d ___, 2016 WL 6596091 (Mo. App. Nov. 8, 2016), hard to fathom, and even harder to stomach.  For several years after starting the blog, one of our aphorisms was “nothing good ever comes out of Missouri.”  Then legal developments caused us to retire that slogan.  Now we may have to bring it back – maybe.

Barron affirmed a $48 million verdict – concerning birth defects – against the maker of a drug that had a black box warning – about birth defects

[THE DRUG] CAN PRODUCE TERATOGENIC EFFECTS SUCH AS NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS (E.G., SPINA BIFIDA). ACCORDINGLY, THE USE OF [THE DRUG] IN WOMEN OF CHILDBEARING POTENTIAL REQUIRES THAT THE BENEFITS OF ITS USE BE WEIGHED AGAINST THE RISK OF INJURY TO THE FETUS.

Barron, 2016 WL 6596091, at *1.

Astonishingly, this boxed warning, which only the FDA can mandate, was a sufficiently inadequate advisory that the drug could cause birth defects that a St. Louis (City) jury awarded $23 million in punitive damages to the plaintiff, who was from Minnesota.

And those two places – St. Louis City and Minnesota – are as much the problem as the “Show-Me-The-Money State” verdict itself. Barron is a poster child for venue and joinder run amok.  First, the underlying action was filed by 24 plaintiffs from all over the country (13 different states), with nothing in common save claiming somewhat similar injuries to different persons from the same drug.  Id. at *4.  Of course, a couple of plaintiffs were from Missouri (and another presumably from the home state of a defendant), in order to defeat diversity.  Id. at *2.


Continue Reading Awful Missouri Venue/Joinder Ruling Offers Way Out – Take It!

In this post we happily bring to your attention three more favorable resolutions where pharmaceutical defendants faced with multi-plaintiff misjoined complaints utilized the limits on general personal jurisdiction imposed by Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014).  The misjoined complaints were sliced, diced, and ultimately dismissed in federal court.  We’ve discussed this technique before, here, here, and here, but it bears repeating – this is a way for defendants to defeat CAFA-skirting plaintiff misjoinders while avoiding the morass of “fraudulent joinder.”

We haven’t rated Oklahoma particularly highly as one of the other sides’ favored jurisdictions, but apparently parts of it are – at least in propoxyphene-related litigation. The three substantively  identical decisions, Guillette v. PD-RX Pharmaceuticals. Inc., 2016 WL 3094073 (W.D. Okla. June 1, 2016); Manning v. PD-RX Pharmaceuticals Inc., 2016 WL 3094075 (W.D. Okla. June 1, 2016); and Nauman v. PD-RX Pharmaceuticals Inc., 2016 WL 3094081 (W.D. Okla. June 1, 2016), all involved complaints filed by multiple plaintiffs with nothing in common except allegations of injury due to products containing this drug.  Multiple defendants that made multiple products were also involved.

Usually, complaints of this nature are structured so that at least one plaintiff is a resident of the forum state, but not here. “Admittedly, no Plaintiff is an Oklahoma resident.”  E.g., Guillette, 2016 WL 3094073, at *1 (since the three opinions are substantively identical, we’ll cite only this one).  That fact makes things a little easier for defendants (no need to sever and possibly remand the in-state plaintiff), but, as we’ve discussed in our prior posts, is in no way dispositive.


Continue Reading Bauman Jurisdictional Limits Dismember Three More Misjoined Multi-Plaintiff Complaints

Twice this month we’ve reported on “the saga of Cymbalta plaintiff lawyers who keep pushing the litigation up a hill in an effort to create a class action, mass action, MDL, or whatever will allow them to park as many meritless cases in one place, only to have that litigation roll back down the hill, resulting in crushed toes, directed verdicts, and jury findings of no liability.”  Let’s make it a trifecta.  Both with our third post and with three more decisions severing the claims of misjoined plaintiffs who have nothing in common except that they each used Cymbalta and they each allege injury.  The cases are Jones v. Eli Lilly, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141925 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 19, 2015) (15 plaintiffs from 11 states); DeCrane v. Eli Lilly, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141924 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 19, 2015) (2 plaintiffs); Boles v. Eli Lilly, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141922 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 19, 2015) (19 plaintiffs from 11 states).

We set out the background of plaintiffs’ counsel’s numerous attempts to create a mass tort in our prior posts here and here.  Based on theses earlier decisions, the result in these three cases is really no surprise. But, it does make for more great precedent on misjoinder and severance.  So, today we’ll throw you some sound bites.  For instance, it is hard to argue claims are properly joined when they are described as:

the claims of fifteen Plaintiffs from eleven different states whose allegations rest on distinct, unrelated factual scenarios: Cymbalta treatment over fifteen different time periods, presumably in eleven different states, for several different conditions….; use of the medicine under the care of multiple healthcare professionals from a range of medical subspecialties, affiliated with different practices and, potentially, varying degrees of exposure to the relevant product labeling; a host of potential co-medications and comorbidities; and, finally, Plaintiffs’ particular discontinuation methods (whether abrupt or tapered over varying lengths of time) which allegedly resulted in a range of symptoms of varying type, severity, and duration.

Jones, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141925 at *16-17 (all three decisions are virtually identical, so we cite to Jones throughout).


Continue Reading Another Smack Down for Cymbalta Plaintiffs’ Lawyers

This post relates to the Vioxx litigation, in which Beck’s firm is involved. You therefore can’t blame Beck for this post; it’s being written entirely by Herrmann.

We’ve previously posted about the headaches caused when unrelated plaintiffs join their claims in a single complaint.

In the Vioxx litigation, Judge Fallon had originally permitted unrelated plaintiffs

We’ve previously posted on the ridiculous misjoinders frequently seen in mass tort cases. To avoid paying filing fees, plaintiffs’ lawyers join the claims of scores — or hundreds, or thousands — of unrelated plaintiffs in a single complaint. As we noted in our earlier post, courts usually see through those shenanigans and order severance and

We posted last week (on January 11) about the overwhelming trend in the courts to sever the unrelated claims of multiple plaintiffs that are misjoined in product liability complaints.

Magistrate Judge David A. Baker of the Middle District of Florida recently recommended sua sponte that the court sever the claims of more than 6,500 Seroquel

It now happens at the outset of almost every major mass tort. Plaintiffs’ counsel, having through various forms of solicitation amassed a “great unwashed” of nominal clients about whom they know next to nothing, chooses to dump them all on one unfortunate court in a single complaint. Of course, by filing a single complaint, counsel