Madison - St. Clair Record

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Gilbert dismisses Lipitor suit saying 261 plaintiffs sued in wrong court

By The Madison County Record | Mar 6, 2014


BENTON – Two hundred and sixty one women who blame Lipitor for diabetes sued drug maker Pfizer in the wrong court, U.S. District Judge Phil Gilbert ruled.

Gilbert dismissed their suit on Feb. 25, after St. Louis lawyer John Driscoll passed up a chance to correct jurisdictional defects.

Gilbert dismissed it without prejudice, so plaintiffs can sue elsewhere.

Driscoll filed the suit on Feb. 7, for 23 women from Texas, 21 from Florida, 17 from Missouri, 16 from Ohio, 15 from New York, 14 from North Carolina, 11 each from Maryland and Kentucky, ten from Georgia, nine each from Mississippi, Alabama, and West Virginia, seven each from Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and California, and 61 from 21 other states and the District of Columbia.

He claimed Pfizer concealed the relationship between Lipitor and diabetes.

“At all times, defendant knew or should have known that Lipitor was and is hazardous to human health,” the suit alleges.

Driscoll argued that the court could exercise jurisdiction “because defendant is present in the State of Illinois.”

“Requiring defendant to litigate this claim in Illinois does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice and is permitted by the United States Constitution,” he wrote.

Gilbert didn’t permit it.

On Feb. 12, he ordered Driscoll to amend the complaint.

“A pleading must contain a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction,” Gilbert wrote. “The plaintiffs’ pleading lacks such a statement.

“A corporation is a citizen of both the state of its principal place of business and the state of its incorporation.

“The relevant pleading must affirmatively allege the specific states of incorporation and principal place of business of a corporate party.

“The complaint fails to allege the defendant’s citizenship.”

He wrote that jurisdiction further requires a minimum amount in controversy.

“The complaint fails to allege the amount in controversy in this case,” Gilbert wrote.

No new complaint arrived, and Gilbert dismissed the original for lack of jurisdiction and for failure to prosecute.

A separate mass action from Driscoll started in federal court but hasn’t proceeded.

On Dec. 13, he sued drug maker Bayer for 44 women claiming injuries from Mirena, a flexible plastic contraceptive device.

The docket showed no further entries as of March 4, not even for issuing a summons.

Eight plaintiffs in that suit came from North Carolina, five from Texas, three from Ohio, and two each from Georgia, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Missouri, Montana, Michigan, and South Dakota.

South Carolina, Indiana, Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Oregon, Illinois, Nebraska, Washington, New York, Tennessee, and Maryland each produced a plaintiff.

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