United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendants Janssen
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and Janssen
Research and Development, LLC's motion to dismiss the
claims of the out-of-state plaintiffs for lack of personal
jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim, or in the
alternative, motion for more definite statement, [Doc. No.
9]. Also before the Court are plaintiffs' motion to
remand, [Doc. No. 12] and motion to stay these proceedings.
The parties oppose the respective motions.
13, 2016, plaintiffs filed this action in the Circuit Court
of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, alleging seven state law
causes of action against defendants arising out of their
manufacture and sale of the drug Risperdal
(“Risperdal”). Plaintiffs, who are comprised of
minor children, parents and/or guardians of minor children,
and adult plaintiffs, allege that they have suffered serious
injury and damages that were caused by Risperdal. They bring
state law claims for negligence (Count I); fraud (Count II);
strict product liability-failure to warn (Count III); strict
product liability (Count IV); breach of express warranty
(Count V); breach of implied warranty (Count VI); and unfair
and deceptive trade practices (Count VII).
removed the action to this Court on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because
there is complete diversity among all properly joined and
served parties, and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,
000.00, exclusive of interest and costs.
assert that all of the non-Missouri Plaintiffs should be
dismissed from the case and that the Court's diversity
jurisdiction would apply to the remaining Missouri
Plaintiffs' claims. Defendants asserted that the United
States Supreme Court's ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb
Co. v. Superior Court of California, 137 S.Ct. 1773
(2017) (“Bristol-Myers”), issued on June
19, 2017, constituted an “order” or “other
paper, ” which triggers a new 30-day period for removal
under 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(3). In that case, the Supreme
Court held that a state court lacks specific jurisdiction
over nonresident plaintiffs' claims that have no
connection to the forum where the lawsuit is filed even if
those plaintiffs join their claims with in-state plaintiffs.
claim that their Notice of Removal was also timely under 28
U.S.C. § 1446(c)(1), which provides that an action may
not be removed after one year from the date of commencement
“unless the district court finds that the plaintiff has
acted in bad faith in order to prevent a defendant from
removing the action.” 28 U.S.C. § 1446(c)(1).
asserted that Plaintiffs engaged in bad faith by including
nondiverse Plaintiffs in the case for the purpose of evading
federal jurisdiction. Plaintiff filed a timely motion to
remand, arguing that Bristol-Myers does not create
an exception to the application of the 30-day time limit of
§ 1446(c)(1), and that no bad faith has been shown.
the lack of complete diversity on the face of the complaint,
defendants assert that federal diversity jurisdiction exists
because this Court does not have general jurisdiction over
the defendants to hear plaintiffs' claims, and none of
the out-of-state plaintiffs can establish specific personal
jurisdiction over the defendants in Missouri. Defendants have
filed a motion to dismiss the claims of all the out-of-state
plaintiffs for lack of personal jurisdiction, and urge to the
Court to address that motion first. According to defendants,
granting the motion to dismiss is straightforward and will
create complete diversity between defendants and the
remaining Missouri plaintiffs. In the alternative, defendants
argue 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.
move to remand. Plaintiffs assert that there is a lack of
complete diversity of the parties and no federal question is
federal court may not proceed in a case unless it has subject
matter jurisdiction. See Crawford v. F.
Hoffman-La Roche Ltd., 267 F.3d 760, 764 (8th Cir.
2001). Certain threshold issues, however, such as personal
jurisdiction, may be addressed without a finding of subject
matter jurisdiction, “provided that the threshold issue
is simple when compared with the issue of subject matter
jurisdiction.” Id. (citing Ruhrgas AG v.
Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 588 (1999)). It is
within the Court's discretion to determine whether to
decide the issues of personal jurisdiction or subject matter
jurisdiction first. Id. The Supreme Court in
Ruhrgas acknowledged, however, that “in most
instances subject-matter jurisdiction will involve no arduous
inquiry” and “[i]n such cases, both expedition
and sensitivity to state courts' coequal stature should
impel the federal court to dispose of that issue
first.” Id. at 587-88.
argue that the United States Supreme Court addressing
personal jurisdiction, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Super.
Ct. of Cal., S. F. Cnty., 137 S.Ct. 1773
(2017), makes it clear that this Court does not have personal
jurisdiction over defendants. Defendants urge the Court to
follow another case from this district where personal
jurisdiction was addressed first. Siegfried v. Boehringer
v. Ingelheim Pharm., Inc., No. 4:16-CV-1942 CDP, 2017 WL
2778107, at *1-6 (E.D. Mo. June 27, 2017).
Court does not agree that Bristol-Myers, 137 S.Ct.
1773has changed the legal terrain established in
Ruhrgas, 526 U.S. 574. It is still within the
Court's discretion to decide which threshold issue to
address first, taking into account which issue is simpler and
can be decided more expeditiously. Ruhrgas, 526 U.S.
at 587-88. The party invoking jurisdiction bears the burden
of proof that all prerequisites to jurisdiction are
satisfied. Hatridge v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co.,
415 F.2d 809, 814 (8th Cir. 1969). Removal statutes are
strictly construed, and any doubts about the propriety of
removal are ...