Snyders Heart Valve LLC v. St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE - DENYING 110 Sealed Motion, filed by St. Jude Medical S.C., Inc., St. Jude Medical, Cardiology Division, Inc., St. Jude Medical, LLC, 165 Order, Report and Recommendations, Terminate Motions. Signed by Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III on 10/12/2017. (baf, )
United States District Court
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
SNYDERS HEART VALVE LLC,
ST. JUDE MEDICAL S.C., INC., ET AL., §
CASE NO. 4:16CV812
Judge Mazzant/Judge Johnson
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Came on for consideration the report of the United States Magistrate Judge in this action,
this matter having been heretofore referred to the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636. On August 29, 2017, the report of the Magistrate Judge was entered containing
proposed findings of fact and recommendations (see Dkt. #165) that Defendants St. Jude Medical
S.C., Inc., St. Jude Medical, Cardiology Division, Inc., and St. Jude Medical, LLC’s (collectively
“Defendants”) “Motion to Reconsider the Court’s May 12, 2017 Order Denying St. Jude’s Motion
to Dismiss for Improper Venue (Dkt. #98) and St. Jude’s Renewal of Same” (the “Motion to
Reconsider”) (Dkt. #110, Sealed) be DENIED.
Defendants, as well as Plaintiff Snyders Heart Valve LLC, filed objections to the report
(see Dkt. #170 and #171, respectively). Additionally, Plaintiff filed a response to Defendants’
objections (see Dkt. #175), and Defendants filed a response to Plaintiff’s objections (see Dkt.
#177). The Court has made a de novo review of the objections raised by both Defendants and
Plaintiff and is of the opinion that the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge are correct
and the objections are without merit as to the ultimate findings of the Magistrate Judge. The Court
hereby adopts the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge as the findings and conclusions
of this Court.
Plaintiff’s objections relate only to the portion of the Magistrate Judge’s report rejecting
Plaintiff’s argument that the Supreme Court’s holding in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Grp.
Brands LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017) is inapplicable to the Eastern District of Texas because under
28 U.S.C. § 1391(d) of the general venue statute, Texas is a state with multiple districts. Plaintiff
reasserted the argument that because TC Heartland arose from an action filed in the District Court
for the District of Delaware, a state with only one judicial district, the Supreme Court intended that
its TC Heartland holding only apply to § 1391(c) and not § 1391(d). Under Plaintiff’s theory,
venue is proper in the District because Defendants are subject to the Court’s personal jurisdiction
pursuant to § 1391(d).
Although the Court acknowledges that Plaintiff makes an interesting statutory
interpretation argument concerning the differences between § 1391(c) and § 1391(d), Plaintiff cites
no case law—nor has the Court’s independent research located any—to support its argument that
§ 1391(d) trumps § 1400(b). Despite the fact that TC Heartland addressed venue arising under §
1391(c), the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge’s finding that § 1391’s savings clause applies
to § 1391(d). See § 1391(a) (“Except as otherwise provided by law— . . . this section shall govern
the venue of all civil actions . . . .”). As the Supreme Court stated, “[it is] clear that the savings
clause applies to the entire ‘section’” and “expressly contemplates that certain venue statutes may
contain definitions of ‘resides’ that conflict with its default definition.” TC Heartland, 137 S. Ct.
at 1521. Based on the foregoing, the Court finds no error in the Magistrate Judge’s conclusion, and
Plaintiff’s objections are overruled.
Defendants object to the report because the Magistrate Judge failed to place the burden on
Plaintiff to prove acts of infringement in the District. Defendants appear to take issue with the
Magistrate Judge’s finding that the second prong of § 1400(b) was met because Defendants
stipulated they would not contest having sold accused products in this District, but that any such
sales are subject to the safe harbor protection of 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1). As the report makes clear,
the Magistrate Judge’s finding was based on the fact that the Section 271(e)(1) safe harbor is an
affirmative defense, and Plaintiff should not have to negate Defendants’ affirmative defense to
overcome Defendants’ venue challenge. The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge’s conclusion.
“Where the jurisdictional issue cannot be decided without the ruling constituting at the same time
a ruling on the merits of the case, the case should be heard and determined on its merits through
. regular trial procedure.” McBeath v. Inter-Am. Citizens for Decency Comm., 374 F.2d 359, 363
(5th Cir. 1967). Accordingly, Defendants objections are also overruled.
Therefore, Defendants Motion to Reconsider (Dkt. #110, Sealed) is DENIED.
It is SO ORDERED.
SIGNED this 12th day of October, 2017.
AMOS L. MAZZANT
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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