United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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
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 named Defendants.
The amended complaint asserts numerous Missouri state law
causes of action, such as negligence and strict product
liability/failure to warn. Defendants are citizens of
Pennsylvania and/or New Jersey.
amended complaint asserts that the Missouri court has
jurisdiction over each Defendant because each had engaged in
continuous and systematic business in Missouri.
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.
April 13, 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 exceeded $75, 000. 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.
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.
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 to dismiss. 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:I4CVI485 RWS, 2014 WL 5025833, at *1 (E.D.
Mo. Oct. 8, 2014).
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. The Court 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.
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 ...