United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
E. JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendants' motions to
stay. Also before the Court are plaintiffs' motions to
remand pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c), and motion to
stay pending order on remand.
initiated this action in the Circuit Court of the City of St.
Louis, Missouri on November 29, 2016. Plaintiffs assert
product liability, breach of warranty, and statutory claims
stemming from their use of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder
and “Shower to Shower” (talcum powder-based
products). Plaintiffs allege that the products caused ovarian
February 10, 2017, defendants Johnson & Johnson and
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. removed the
action to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction,
28 U.S.C. § 1332. The removing defendants are New Jersey
citizens. Defendant Imerys Talc America, Inc. is a Delaware
corporation with its principal place of business in
California. Id. Plaintiffs are citizens of thirty
different states, including New Jersey and
argue that the Court should stay this case pending a
potential transfer to a multidistrict litigation (MDL)
proceeding. Plaintiffs counter that the Court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction over this action in the absence of
complete diversity of the parties, and should therefore
remand the case to the state court from which it was removed.
power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power inherent
in every court to control the disposition of the causes on
its docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for
counsel, and for litigants.” Landis v. N. Am.
Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936). “A district court
has broad discretion to stay proceedings when appropriate to
control its docket.” Sierra Club v. U.S. Army Corps
of Eng'rs, 446 F.3d 808, 816 (8th Cir. 2006).
Relevant factors include the conservation of judicial
resources and the parties' resources, maintaining control
of the court's docket, providing for the just
determination of cases, and hardship or inequity to the party
opposing the stay. Edens v. Volkswagen Grp. of Am.,
Inc., No. 16-CV-0750 (WMW/LIB), 2016 WL 3004629, at *1-2
(D. Minn. May 24, 2016) (citations omitted). In determining
whether to stay proceedings, a district court must exercise
judgment by weighing “competing interests” and
maintaining “an even balance.” Landis,
299 U.S. at 254-55. “The proponent of a stay bears the
burden of establishing its need.” Clinton v.
Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 708 (1997).
move to stay the proceedings until the Judicial Panel on
Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) rules on their motion to
transfer this case to the MDL proceeding pending in the
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey -
In re Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Marketing Sales
Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No.
2738. That MDL proceeding will coordinate pre-trial
proceedings for “actions [that] share common factual
questions arising out of allegations that perineal use of
Johnson & Johnson's talcum powder products can cause
ovarian or uterine cancer in women.” [Doc. #14 at 2
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted)]. Defendants
also note that there are at least 160 nearly identical,
individual actions currently pending in the federal court
system. Id. In the alternative, defendants argue
that this Court should stay this matter pending resolution of
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of
California, No. 16-466, 2017 WL 215687 (U.S. Jan. 19,
2017) and BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell, No. 16-405,
2017 WL 125672 (U.S. Jan. 13, 2017).
argue that a stay is appropriate in this case because it
would (1) promote judicial economy by ensuring consistency
and avoiding duplicative efforts, (2) avoid prejudice to
defendants imposed by redundant discovery requests and
motions, and (3) impose no prejudice on plaintiffs'
claims. They cite to nearly identical cases in which judges
of this Court have stayed the proceedings pending transfer to
the same MDL panel. See Rea v. Johnson &
Johnson, , 4:16-CV-2165 (SNLJ), (E.D. Mo. Apr. 7, 2017);
Gallow v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 4:16-CV-1123
(JAR) (E.D. Mo. Feb. 2, 2017); Lucas v. Johnson &
Johnson, No. 4:16-CV-1339 (JAR) (E.D. Mo. Feb. 2, 2017);
Starks v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 4:16-CV-1362
(AGF) (E.D. Mo. Feb. 2, 2017); Frazier v. Johnson &
Johnson, No. 4:16-CV-1388 (JAR) (E.D. Mo. Feb. 2, 2017);
Eveland v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 4:16-CV-1436
(JAR) (E.D. Mo. Feb. 2, 2017). After considering the relevant
factors, the Court finds no reason to depart from these
cases. Plaintiffs have not offered any arguments that
granting a stay in this matter would prejudice their claims.
Plaintiffs can present their arguments for remand before the
MDL court. Finally, a stay in this case would conserve
judicial resources and promote judicial economy.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendants' motions to stay all
proceedings [Docs. #13, #25] are granted.
FURTHER ORDERED that this matter is stayed pending decision
by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation regarding
transfer of this action to the United States District Court
for the District of New Jersey.
FURTHER ORDERED that all other pending motions in this case