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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. PDX, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

March 29, 2017

WAL-MART STORES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
PDX, INC., and LANDMARK DATA, INC. n/k/a NATIONAL HEALTH INFORMATION NETWORK, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RONNIE L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motions for summary judgment (ECF Nos. 82, 150). These matters are fully briefed and ready for disposition.

         BACKGROUND

         In the underlying action, Jean Pendino and Paul Pendino, as Next Friend of Minor Paul Pendino, Jr. filed suit against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ("Wal-Mart") in the St. Louis City Circuit Court, Missouri ("Circuit Court") in Cause Number 012-00491 (hereinafter "Underlying Suit"). (ECF No. 84-1). In the Underlying Suit, Pendino sought damages allegedly resulting from Wal-Mart's failure to warn that ingestion of the drug "Tegretol" during pregnancy could adversely affect a fetus. Pendino's mother ingested Tegretol from April 1994 through October 1996, when Paul Pendino, Jr. was born with disabilities including spina bifida. The Pendinos alleged that Wal-Mart filled Jean Pendino's prescriptions for Tegretol. Defendants PDX, Inc. ("PDX") and Landmark Data, Inc. n/k/a National Health Information Network, Inc. ("NHIN") were not named as parties in the Underlying Suit.

         During discovery of the Underlying Suit, Wal-Mart identified Medi-Span as its supplier of patient drug education monograph inserts for Tegretol. Thereafter, Wal-Mart, while denying liability, settled the Pendinos' underlying lawsuit. Following the settlement of the Underlying Suit, Wal-Mart filed lawsuits seeking contributions from Medi-Span, Inc. and its successors: First DataBank, Inc. and Wo Iters Kluwer Health, Inc. Wal-Mart alleged that "Medi-Span distributed monographs to Wal-Mart pharmacies which were provided to each customer, including Jean [Pendino], who obtained prescriptions at Wal-Mart during [the period 1994 through 1997]." (ECF No. 84-3, ¶¶8-22). This suit was dismissed by Wal-Mart and other similar actions were dismissed by the Court or by Wal-Mart.

         Sometime in 2008, Wal-Mart and the Pendinos entered into an Addendum of their Settlement Agreement (Addendum to Full and Final Release). (ECF No. 18, ¶14). Wal-Mart sought to have the original Settlement Agreement reformed to include the terms and conditions of the Addendum. This request was denied by the trial court. (ECF No. 16-2). The Circuit Court ruled that the Addendum was a separate, distinct and enforceable agreement and, therefore, it follows that it was unnecessary to "reform" the 2004 release. The Circuit Court further held "[t]he addendum is supported by consideration, i.e., the 10% contingent share of any recovery..." (ECF No. 16-2).

         This lawsuit followed.

         DISCUSSION

         I. MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         A. Motion for Summary Judgment Standard

         The Court may grant a motion for summary judgment if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Citrate, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011). The substantive law determines which facts are critical and which are irrelevant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome will properly preclude summary judgment. Id. Summary judgment is not proper if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.

         A moving party always bears the burden of informing the Court of the basis of its motion. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. Once the moving party discharges this burden, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts demonstrating that there is a dispute as to a genuine issue of material fact, not the "mere existence of some alleged factual dispute." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The nonmoving party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials of his pleading. Id.

         In passing on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 331. The Court's function is not to weigh the evidence but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 4 77 U.S. at 249. '"Credibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge.'" Torgerson, 643 F.3d at 1042 (quoting Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000)). Finally, "[t]here is no 'discrimination case exception' to the application of summary judgment, which is a useful pretrial tool to determine whether any case, including one alleging discrimination, merits a trial." Torgerson, 643 F.3d at 1043 (citing Fercello v. County of Ramsey, 612 F.3d 1069, 1077 (8th Cir. 2010), citing Wallace v. DTG Operations, Inc., 442 F.3d 1112, 1118 (8th Cir. 2006), and quoting Berg v. Norand Corp., 169 F.3d 1140, 1144 (8th Cir. 1999)).

         B. ...


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