Saturday, August 9, 2014

At Least One NuvaRing® Opt-Out Plaintiff Seeks Remand To "Questionable" Texas State Court Venue

It is clearly within the rights of any given plaintiff, in a products liability action, to bring that action wherever jurisdiction exists, and venue may be properly laid. Having said that, judges often consolidate (at the defendants' request) cases in a single district, where the factual issues between claimants vary only slightly. So it was, with the NuvaRing® MDL -- consolidated in Kansas City, Missouri federal District Court.

But, now, as the MDL winds down, a handful of plaintiffs have elected to reject the settlement, and press on individually, in the same ways they started. In one of those cases, the plaintiff's lawyer seeks remand -- out of federal court, and back into the the state court system of Texas. But not just any state court in Texas, no. That plaintiff seeks a remand order to Cameron County, Texas. I mention this bit of detail only because that is a local court system with a documented, published history of corruption -- and a national reputation for being an overly plaintiff-friendly "hellhole" -- among pharma defense lawyers. I have no reason to believe that Merck will not draw an impartial lot in these local courts (should the able Judge Sippel grant remand), but I suspect some it its defense counsel do. So they are opposing a return to the very bottom of Texas, for this case.

Some recent coverage of the problems in this court system -- from a local paper, in Southwest Texas, then:

. . . .[U.S. Dist. Ct. Judge] Hanen also issued an order in May during Villalobos’ trial, writing, "This court has heard over the last two weeks of trial and throughout pretrial hearings a troublesome and disturbing tale of unethical conduct involving judges, lawyers and laypersons. . . ."

"This state of affairs was exacerbated by the fact that it has lasted over a number of years and affected numerous cases," he added.

Hanen said that the court had heard witnesses and seen exhibits that show uncharged illegal acts and violations of disciplinary rules. . . .

We will keep an eye on this case, for the readership. Here is the paperwork seeking remand -- in the above mentioned opt-out case.

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