Supreme Court Limits Where Companies Can Be Sued
June 19, 2017
The Supreme Court has again ruled to limit plaintiff venue-shopping, ruling that state courts cannot hear claims against companies that are not based in the state when the alleged injuries did not occur there. In an 8-1 ruling, the justices overturned a lower court decision that allowed hundreds of out of state patients to sue pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. The 2012 suit, filed in California against Bristol-Myers, involved 86 California residents and 575 non-Californians who alleged the medicine Plavix increased their risk of stroke, heart attack, and internal bleeding. Bristol-Myers is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York. The California Supreme Court in 2016 ruled that it could preside over the case because Bristol-Myers conducted a national marketing campaign and sold nearly $1 billion of the drug in the state. But, writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said that the California court was not able to hear the case “without identifying any adequate link between the state and the nonresidents’ claim.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented.
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