Essure Plaintiffs Win Major Motions in Missouri
Jan. 5, 2017
Missouri Circuit Court Judge, the Honorable Joan L. Moriarty recently issued a ruling in favor of 92 Essure Plaintiffs and against Bayer on several major dispositive motions in the Essure litigation pending in St. Louis, MO. The Bayer defendants had filed several motions, including a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' case, Motion to Sever and Motion Transfer Venue. The ruling allows the Essure plaintiffs to move forward with their claims against Bayer for the injuries and damages caused by the Essure Sterilization Device. This ruling follows other similar favorable rulings in cases pending in California and bode well for Essure plaintiffs nationwide.
Of the 92 Plaintiffs in the St. Louis case, 85 are from outside the state of Missouri. Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint on four grounds. First, they argued that the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over the 85 non-Missouri plaintiffs claiming Bayer is not at home or a resident of Missouri and should not be sued there. Bayer argued that personal jurisdiction for the 7 Missouri residents do not establish personal jurisdiction over the non-resident plaintiffs. The Court, however, correctly ruled that Bayer has sufficient minimum contacts with the state of Missouri, including having a registered agent in the state to accept service of process there.
Bayer next argued that all of the out-of-state residents should be dismissed pursuant to forum non conveniens ,a doctrine that allows the Court to refuse jurisdiction if the particular forum is inconvenient for the trial and if a more appropriate forum is available to the plaintiffs. Bayer argued than the plaintiffs should return and file suit in their individual states. The Court noted that the emphasis should be on oppression to the defendant and lacking such oppression, the Court should honor a plaintiff's choice of forum if reasonable persons could differ with the decision to dismiss. Accordingly, St. Louis is an appropriate forum.
The third argument futilely argued by Bayer is that plaintiffs' claims are barred by preemption. The Court noted that there is a basic presumption against preemption and that violations of state law claims which parallel federal claims are not preempted. Noting that Bayer cited no Missouri cases dismissing a claim on preemption grounds, the Court also denied Bayer's motions based on preemption.
The Court also correctly denied Bayer's motions to sever. Bayer argued that many of the Plaintiffs should be severed from the lawsuit because they were improperly joined in one action. Bayer maintains that plaintiff's claims do not arise from the same transaction or occurrence, and each plaintiff has unique medical histories and injuries. However, the Court ruled that Plaintiffs' claims all arise from the same allegations of misconduct by Bayer regarding the manufacturing, selling, advertising, promoting, labeling, etc for the Essure device and thus are properly joined together.
Overall, the Court's ruling establishes a huge win for the Plaintiffs in the Missouri litigation. More lawsuits will shortly be filed in this venue.
If you have any questions concerning the Court's ruling, or you have been a victim of the Essure Sterilization Device and want to discuss your legal rights, contact Holly Ennis at Ennis & Ennis, P.A. by calling or visiting us online at www.Ennislaw.com and fill out an online form.