United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on numerous motions filed by the
parties. Currently pending are a Motion to Dismiss for Lack
of Jurisdiction and Improper Venue (ECF No. 4) and Motion to
Stay all Proceedings (ECF No. 7) by Defendants Johnson &
Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. (ECF No. 4)
("Johnson & Johnson Defendants"). Defendants Imerys
Talc America, Inc., PTI Union, LLC, and PTI Royston, LLC have
also filed motions to dismiss. (ECF Nos. 26, 30, 36)
Plaintiffs have filed several motions, including a Motion to
Remand (ECF No. 41), Motion to Expedite Ruling on Motion to
Remand (ECF No. 48), Motion for Telephonic Hearing on Motion
to Remand (ECF No. 49), and motions for extension of time to
respond to Defendants' motions to dismiss pending the
resolution of the motion to remand (ECF Nos. 50, 64, 65).
(86) Plaintiffs filed this case in state court alleging that
the use of talc products caused their ovarian cancer. The
Johnson & Johnson Defendants removed the case to federal
court on the grounds that diversity of citizenship exists
because, inter alia, PTI Union LLC, the only
Missouri-based Defendant was fraudulently joined in this
action, and 85 of the Plaintiffs do not allege that they
purchased or used the talc products in Missouri.
ask for an expedited ruling from the Court remanding the case
to state court prior to the disposition of the Motion to
Stay. Defendant seek a stay of this matter pending transfer
to the multidistrict litigation now pending before Judge
Freda Wolfson in the United States District Court for the
District of New Jersey. See In re Johnson & Johnson
Talcum Powder Mktg., Sales Practices & Prods. Liab.
Litig., MDL No. 2738. Plaintiffs oppose the motion to
stay. The Court finds that a stay is appropriate in this case
and declines to address the other pending motions.
district court has inherent power to stay its
proceedings." Simmons v. GlaxoSmithKline, LLC,
No. 4:15CV1397 CDP, 2015 WL 6063926, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 14,
2015) (citation omitted). "In determining whether to
stay proceedings, a district court must exercise judgment by
weighing 'competing interests' and maintaining
'an even balance.'" Id. (quoting
Bledsoe v. Janssen Pharm., No. 4:05CV02330 ERW, 2006
WL 335450, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 13, 2006)). When
"considering a motion to stay, a Court should consider
both the interest of judicial economy and the potential
prejudice or hardship to the parties." Lafoy v.
Volkswagen Grp. of Am., Inc., No. 4:16CV00466, 2016 WL
2733161, at *2 (E.D. Mo. May 11, 2016) (citation omitted).
"However, '[a] putative transferor court need not
automatically postpone rulings on pending motions, or in any
way generally suspend proceedings, merely on grounds that an
MDL transfer motion has been filed.'" Spears v.
Fresenius Med. Care N. Am., Inc., No. 4:13-CV-855 (CEJ),
2013 WL 2643302, at 1 (E.D. Mo. June 12, 2013) (quoting
T.F. v. Pfizer, Inc., No. 4:12-CV-1221 (CDP), 2012
WL 3000229, at *1 (E.D. Mo. July 21, 2012) (internal
argue that a stay pending transfer would promote judicial
economy and consistency of rulings. Further, Defendants
assert that absent a stay, the Court will waste time
supervising pretrial proceedings and ruling on motions in a
case that will soon be transferred to the MDL court. Further,
Defendants argue that they will be significantly prejudiced
and suffer hardship because they would be required to engage
induplicate discovery and motions practice. In response,
Plaintiffs maintain that Johnson & Johnson's removal
is a sham designed to deprive Plaintiffs their day in court
and would only reward Defendants for this fraud.
Court finds that judicial economy weighs heavily in favor of
granting a stay in this matter. "A stay will allow
consistent pretrial rulings and conserve the resources of the
parties, counsel, and the judiciary." Simmons,
2015 WL 6063926, at *1. Further, the Court notes that other
recent cases presenting the same claims against the same
Defendants addressed the same stay and remand issues. In
those cases, the district judges stayed the proceedings
pending transfer to the MDL panel. See Johnson v. Johnson
& Johnson, No. 4:17-CV-2651 SNLJ (E.D. Mo. Dec. 5,
2017); Jinright v. Johnson & Johnson, No.
4:17CV01849 ERW (E.D. Mo. Aug. 30, 2017); McBee v.
Johnson & Johnson, No. 4:17-CV-01496 JAR (E.D. Mo.
June 9, 2017); Rice v. Johnson & Johnson, No.
4:17-CV-01224-CDP (E.D. Mo.); Ghormley v. Johnson &
Johnson, No. 4:17-CV-00585 (CEJ) (E.D. Mo. Apr. 27,
2017); Rea v. Johnson & Johnson, No.
4:16-CV-2165 SNLJ (E.D. Mo. Feb. 22, 2017). The Court finds
no reason to depart from these cases. Therefore, the Court
will grant Defendants' motion to stay all proceedings in
this matter pending transfer to the MDL court. The Court
notes that Plaintiffs will have a full and fair opportunity
to present their arguments for remand to the MDL court should
the case be transferred to MDL No. 2738.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motions for Joinder in Motion
to Stay All Proceedings by Defendants Imerys Talc America,
Inc., PTI Union, LLC, and PTI Royston, LLC (ECF Nos. 28, 39,
40) are GRANTED.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to Stay All
Proceedings (ECF No. 7) is GRANTED. This case shall be STAYED
pending a decision by the MDL Panel on whether to transfer
this case to MDL No. 2738 in the United States District Court
for the District of New Jersey.
FURTHER ORDERED that all other pending motions are DENIED
without prejudice. Dated this 6th day of March, 2018.