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Ruperto C. Rivera et al. v. Astrazeneca Pharmaceuticals Lp et al.

June 5, 2012

RUPERTO C. RIVERA ET AL.
v.
ASTRAZENECA PHARMACEUTICALS LP ET AL. THOMAS E. WALKER ET AL.
v.
ASTRAZENECA PHARMACEUTICALS LP ET AL. MERRILEE NESTANDE ET AL.
v.
ASTRAZENECA PHARMACEUTICALS LP ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable Gary Allen Feess

LINKS: 12-02921: 15, 16, 17, 20, 21; 12-00492: 12, 13, 23, 24; 12-00495: 14, 25, 26

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Present: The Honorable GARY ALLEN FEESS

Renee Fisher None N/A Deputy Clerk Court Reporter / Recorder Tape No.

Attorneys Present for Plaintiffs: Attorneys Present for Defendants:

None None

Proceedings: (In Chambers)

ORDER REMANDING CASE

I.

INTRODUCTION

These putative class actions arise out of personal injuries allegedly sustained as a result of using Crestor, a cholesterol-lowing drug manufactured by Defendant AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP ("AstraZeneca") and distributed by Defendant McKesson Corporation ("McKesson"). (Docket No. 1, Not., Ex. 1 [Compl.].)*fn1 On April 3 and 4, 2012, Defendants removed each action to federal court on the purported basis of diversity of citizenship, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a), and federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (Docket No. 1, Not.) Notwithstanding McKesson's California citizenship, Defendants claimed that the company had been fraudulently joined purely for the purpose of destroying diversity jurisdiction. (Not. ¶¶ 14--21.) Plaintiffs have now filed motions to stay and to remand the actions to state court. (Docket Nos. 20, 21.) Defendants have filed motions to dismiss various causes of action contained in each complaint, and motions to sever the multi-plaintiff complaints into separate cases. (Docket Nos. 15, 16, 17.) Because the Court concludes that Defendants have failed to meet their burden of demonstrating fraudulent joinder, and that the state law claims contained in the complaints do not raise substantial federal questions, the motions to remand are GRANTED, and the actions are REMANDED to Los Angeles County and Riverside County Superior Courts. Accordingly, the motions to dismiss, to stay, and to sever are DENIED as moot.

II.

BACKGROUND

The United States Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") first approved Crestor® ("Crestor") as a cholesterol-lowering drug in 2003. (Id. ¶ 35.) According to the complaint, "recent news has come to light that casts a shadow on the safety of using Crestor." (Id.) In particular, Plaintiffs allege that the early results of studies looking into the risks of using Crestor are "not encouraging," as the drug has been linked to serious side effects, such as heart muscle disease ...


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