Aubuchon et al v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation et al.
ORDER OF TRANSFER to: Eastern District of Michigan.....IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant GlaxoSmithKline LLC's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is DENIED, and its alternative motion to transfer venue pursuant to 28 U .S.C. § 1404(a) is GRANTED. [Doc. 9] IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall transfer this case to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Signed by District Judge Charles A. Shaw on 2/9/2016. (MRC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
BRITTANY AUBUCHON and
SMITHKLINE BEECHAM CORPORATION )
d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline, and
No. 4:15-CV-1831 CAS
ORDER OF TRANSFER
Plaintiffs Lisa Aubuchon and Brittany Aubuchon are mother and daughter. Lisa Aubuchon
alleges that she took defendant GlaxoSmithKline LLC’s prescription drug Paxil while she was
pregnant with Brittany. Lisa Aubuchon claims that as a result of her taking the drug, plaintiff
Brittany was born with birth defects. Plaintiffs reside in the Eastern District of Michigan. Lisa
Aubuchon received her prescription for Paxil, ingested the product, and gave birth to Brittany in
Dearborn Heights, Michigan.
Defendant GlaxoSmithKline LLC removed this action to this Court from state court.
GlaxoSmithKline LLC is incorporated in Delaware, Maryland and maintains large
corporate/administrative headquarters in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. GlaxoSmithKline LLC
has filed a motion to dismiss this case for lack of personal jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(2), Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure or, in the alternative, moves to transfer plaintiffs’ claims to the proper
venue in the Eastern District of Michigan under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Plaintiffs oppose the motion
to dismiss but state that if the Court is inclined to reject their “consent to jurisdiction” argument, they
request that defendant’s alternative motion to transfer venue be granted rather than this action be
dismissed, as transfer “would serve all parties’ interests.” Pls.’ Opp. at 7.
None of the claims in this case are related to any activities of defendants in Missouri. Based
on the facts asserted in the Petition, the Court concludes it lacks personal jurisdiction over
GlaxoSmithKline LLC. See Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746, 760 (2014). The Court rejects
plaintiffs’ consent to jurisdiction argument, which is based on defendant’s actions of registering to
do business in Missouri and appointing an agent for service of process here as required by state law.
See Keeley v. Pfizer Inc., 2015 WL 3999488, at *4 (E.D. Mo. July 1, 2015); Neeley v. Wyeth LLC,
2015 WL 1456984, at *3 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 30, 2015). The Court finds, however, that justice would
best be served by transferring this case rather than dismissing it.
The threshold inquiry in ruling on a motion under § 1404(a) is whether a case “might have
been brought” in the proposed transferee district. See Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 616
(1964). Then, in determining whether to transfer the action, a court must consider the three general
categories of factors stated in § 1404(a), which states: “For the convenience of parties and witnesses,
in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division
where it might have been brought or to any district or division to which all parties have consented.”
28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Thus, the statutory language invokes three general categories of factors that
courts must consider when deciding a motion to transfer: (1) the convenience of the parties, (2) the
convenience of the witnesses, and (3) the interests of justice. Id.; see Terra Intern., Inc. v.
Mississippi Chemical Corp., 119 F.3d 688, 691 (8th Cir.1997).
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), a civil action may be brought in (1) a judicial district where any
defendant resides, if all of the defendants reside in the same State; (2) a judicial district where a
substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred; or (3) if there is no
district in which an action may otherwise be brought as provided in § 1391(b), a judicial district in
which the defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction with respect to the cause of action. In the
present case, venue is proper under § 1391(b)(2) in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Michigan.
Here, the relevant factors of § 1404(a) support transfer to the Eastern District of Michigan.
The plaintiffs live in Michigan. Lisa Aubuchon was prescribed the Paxil in Michigan, ingested it
in Michigan, and gave birth to Brittany in Michigan. Relevant witnesses, including Lisa and
Brittany’s physicians, are located in Michigan, as are relevant sources of proof such as records,
documents and other evidence. Michigan law is likely to apply to plaintiffs’ claims, and transferring
the case to Michigan would avoid conflicts of laws issues and allow a Michigan federal court to
decide issues of Michigan law. Therefore, the convenience of the parties and the witnesses, as well
as the interests of justice, favors transfer to Michigan.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant GlaxoSmithKline LLC’s motion to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction is DENIED, and its alternative motion to transfer venue pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1404(a) is GRANTED. [Doc. 9]
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall transfer this case to the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
CHARLES A. SHAW
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 9th day of February, 2016.
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