Cooks et al v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs' motion to remand this case to the state court in which it was filed is GRANTED. (ECF No. 9 .) IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all other pending motions in this case are DENIED without prejudice to refiling in state court, as applicable. Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on May 18, 2017. (Certified copies of the Memorandum and Order and Order of Remand were mailed to the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis.) (BRP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
ALBERT COOKS, et al.,
JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., )
Case No. 4:17-CV-01302 AGF
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This removed pharmaceutical products liability case is before the Court on
Plaintiffs’ motion to remand the action to state court.
For the reasons set forth below,
the motion shall be granted.
Eighty-three Plaintiffs from 29 different states, including Missouri, New Jersey,
and Pennsylvania, filed this action in Missouri state court, claiming that they or their next
friend suffered various injuries as a result of the use of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal,
that was allegedly developed, manufactured, tested, sold, and/or marketed by the five
The amended complaint asserts numerous Missouri state law causes
of action, such as negligence and strict product liability/failure to warn.
citizens of Pennsylvania and/or New Jersey.
The amended complaint asserts that the Missouri court has jurisdiction over each
Defendant because each had engaged in continuous and systematic business in Missouri.
The amended complaint further states that the joinder of the 83 Plaintiffs was proper
because they claim injuries and damages from ingesting the same drug, and common
questions of law and fact would arise.
On April13, 2017, Defendants timely removed the action to this Court, asserting
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).
Defendants maintained that there was
complete diversity among all “properly joined” parties and that the amount in controversy
Defendants acknowledged that some of the Plaintiffs were residents
of Pennsylvania and some were residents of New Jersey, thereby defeating complete
diversity as required by § 1332, but Defendants maintained that the citizenship of all
non-Missouri Plaintiffs should be disregarded because their claims were fraudulently
joined in that these Plaintiffs cannot establish personal jurisdiction over any Defendant in
any court in Missouri. Defendants emphasized that the removal did not rely on the
fraudulent misjoinder doctrine.
ECF No. 1 at ¶ 8.
On the same day that they removed the case, Defendants moved to dismiss the
claims of the non-Missouri Plaintiffs for lack of personal jurisdiction, and/or dismiss the
complaint for failure to state a claim, or order Plaintiffs to file a more definite statement.
On April 20, 2015, Plaintiffs timely moved to remand the case.
In support of their
motion to remand, Plaintiffs cite to recent Risperdal cases from this District that, in
contexts similar to those presented here, declined to resolve personal jurisdiction
arguments in light of the straight-forward subject matter jurisdiction analysis and
remanded the cases due to the facial lack of complete diversity.
In response, Defendants
reassert their position that the joinder of the non-Missouri Plaintiffs’ claims is fraudulent
because Missouri courts lack personal jurisdiction over those claims.
This Court recently addressed the arguments presented by the parties here in the
context of another Risperdal case involving the same jurisdictional issues as those
presented here, Triplett v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., No. 4:14-CV-02049-AGF
(E.D. Mo. July 7, 2015).
The Court concluded in Triplett that it was appropriate to
address subject matter jurisdiction, as presented in the plaintiffs’ motion to remand,
before addressing the personal jurisdiction arguments presented in the defendants’ motion
Other courts in this District have so held in Risperdal cases presenting the
same jurisdictional issues.
See, e.g., Thomas v. Janssen Pharms., Inc., No.
4:17-CV-1298 RWS, Slip Op. at 2 (E.D. Mo. May 2, 2017); Morgan v. Janssen Pharms.,
Inc., No. 4:14-CV-1346 CAS, 2014 WL 6678959, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 25, 2014); Butler
v. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharms., Inc., No. 4:14CV1485 RWS, 2014 WL 5025833, at
*1 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 8, 2014).
The Court then held in Triplett that the defendants failed to establish fraudulent
joinder based on the purported lack of personal jurisdiction.
Triplett, ECF No. 30 at 7.
The Court cited two other recent cases from this District that so held, Gracey v. Janssen
Pharms., Inc., No. 4:15-CV-407 CEJ, 2015 WL 2066242, at *3 (E.D. Mo. May 4, 2015),
and Simmons v. Sketchers USA, Inc., No. 4:15-CV-340-CEJ, 2015 WL 1604859, at *3
(E.D. Mo. Apr. 9, 2015), as well as several cases from other districts.
concluded that because the defendants’ theory of fraudulent joinder failed to attack the
merits of the non-diverse plaintiffs’ claims, the defendants failed to establish that there is
no reasonable basis in fact or law supporting these claims.
Therefore, the Court
concluded that the defendants failed to satisfy their burden to establish fraudulent joinder,
and the Court remanded the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to the lack of
complete diversity among the parties, leaving to the state court the question of personal
jurisdiction. Triplett, ECF No. 30 at 8-10.
Upon review of the record in the present case, including the parties’ arguments,
the Court will follow the approach taken in Triplett.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ motion to remand this case to the state
court in which it was filed is GRANTED. (ECF No. 9.)
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all other pending motions in this case are
DENIED without prejudice to refiling in state court, as applicable.
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 18th day of May, 2017.
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