United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD WEBBER SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendants Sanofi-Aventis
U.S. LLC and Sanofi U.S. Services Inc.'s Motion to
Dismiss the New Jersey Plaintiff's Claims for Lack of
Personal Jurisdiction and Improper Venue [ECF No. 7],
Defendants Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC and Sanofi U.S. Services
Inc.'s Motion to Sever [ECF No. 9], Defendants
Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC and Sanofi U.S. Services Inc.'s
Motion to Stay [ECF No. 11], and Plaintiffs' Motion to
Remand [ECF No. 19].
Barbara Addelson and Dorethea Braxton
(“Plaintiffs”) filed a petition in the Circuit
Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, alleging Defendants
Sanofi S.A., Aventis Pharma S.A., Sanofi-Aventis U.S.
Services Inc., and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC manufactured,
marketed, and sold a defective and unreasonably dangerous
pharmaceutical drug, Taxotere, causing permanent
alopecia. ECF No. 5. Plaintiffs assert nine counts
against Defendants: (1) Strict Liability; (2) Manufacturing
Defect; (3) Design Defect; (4) Failure to Warn; (5)
Negligence; (6) Breach of Express Warranty; (7) Breach of
Implied Warranty; (8) Negligent Misrepresentation; and (9)
Fraud. ECF No. 5. On August 4, 2016, Defendants Sanofi U.S.
Services, Inc. and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC
(“Defendants”) removed the matter to this Court
on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Subsequent to
removal, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss, Motion to
Sever, and Motion to Stay. Plaintiffs filed a Motion to
Remand. Defendants Sanofi S.A. and Aventis Pharma S.A. have
not been served.
purposes of this Motion to Dismiss, the Court accepts as true
the following facts alleged in Plaintiffs' Complaint.
Great Rivers Habitat Alliance v. Fed. Emergency Mgmt.
Agency, 615 F.3d 958, 988 (8th Cir. 2010). Plaintiff
Barbara Addelson (“Plaintiff Addelson”) is a
citizen of St. Louis County, Missouri. From November 2010,
through March 2011, Plaintiff Addelson took Taxotere in the
City of St. Louis, pursuant to a doctor's prescription to
treat breast cancer. Plaintiff Dorethea Braxton
(“Plaintiff Braxton”) is a citizen of New Jersey.
From December 2008, through May 2009, Plaintiff Braxton took
Taxotere, pursuant to a doctor's prescription to treat
Sanofi S.A. is a corporation, organized and existing under
the laws of France, with its principal place of business at
54 Rue La Boetie, 75008, Paris, France. Defendants Aventis
Pharma S.A., Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Services Inc., and
Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC are wholly-owned subsidiaries of
Defendant Sanofi S.A. Defendant Aventis Pharma S.A. is a
corporation, organized and existing under the laws of France,
with its principal place of business at 20 Avenue Raymond
Aron, 92160, Antony, France. Defendant Sanofi-Aventis U.S.
Services Inc. is a Delaware corporation, with its principal
place of business at 55 Corporate Drive, Bridgewater, New
Jersey, 08807. Defendant Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC is a
Delaware limited liability company, with its principal place
of business at 55 Corporate Drive, Bridgewater, New Jersey,
08807. All Defendants were engaged in the business of
research, designing, testing, formulating, inspecting,
labeling, manufacturing, packaging, marketing, distributing,
producing, processing, promoting, and selling Taxotere in St.
Louis, Missouri, and the United States. Defendants
Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Services Inc. and Sanofi-Aventis U.S.
LLC, have been licensed to do business in Missouri, and
maintained a registered agent in the State of Missouri,
during all relevant time periods.
ORDER OF THE MOTIONS
their various motions, responses, and replies, the parties
argue the merits of the issues, but also assert arguments
regarding which motion should be decided first. Plaintiffs
argue their Motion to Remand and a determination of subject
matter jurisdiction should be addressed by the Court before
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and issues of personal
jurisdiction. Defendants argue the opposite.
a federal court first resolves doubts about its jurisdiction
over the subject matter” of a case before addressing
personal jurisdiction issues. Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil
Co., 526 U.S. 574, 578 (1999). However, there are
circumstances in which a court may first address personal
jurisdiction, such as when personal jurisdiction is
straightforward while subject matter jurisdiction is
“difficult, novel, or complex.” Id. at
Guillette v. PD-RX Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, the
Western District of Oklahoma held the question of personal
jurisdiction was straightforward because it concerned issues
of sufficiency of contacts and the consequences of
registration to do business in a state, whereas the subject
matter jurisdiction inquiry was complex because it included
the doctrine of fraudulent misjoinder, which the Tenth
Circuit Court of Appeals had not adopted or rejected. No.
5:15-CV-00564-R, 2016 WL 3094073 at *2 (W.D. Ok. Jun. 1,
2016); see also In re Testosterone Replacement
Therapy Prods. Liab. Coordinated Pretrial Proceedings,
164 F.Supp.3d 1040, 1045-46 (N.D. Ill. 2016).
same situation has occurred here. The personal jurisdiction
question is straightforward, while the issue of subject
matter jurisdiction is more complicated, due to the doctrine
of fraudulent misjoinder. Therefore, this Court will first
address the issues of personal jurisdiction before
MOTION TO DISMISS
assert, in their Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff Braxton's
claims must be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Defendants argue Plaintiff Braxton is from New Jersey and
there are no allegations connecting her claims to Missouri.
Further, Defendants contend they also have no connections to
Missouri. In the alternative, Defendants contend Plaintiff
Braxton's claims should be transferred, because the
Eastern District of Missouri is an improper venue for
litigation of her claims. Plaintiffs assert personal