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Dubose v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

United States District Court, N.D. California

June 27, 2017

OPHELIA DUBOSE, Plaintiff,
v.
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION, DENYING REQUEST FOR JURISDICTIONAL DISCOVERY, AND GRANTING MOTION TO TRANSFER Re: ECF No. 13

          JON S. TIGAR, United States District Judge

          Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), or in the Alternative, to Transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). ECF No. 13. Plaintiff opposes the motion. ECF No. 27. The Court denies the motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and grants the motion to transfer the case to the District of South Carolina pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On April 18, 2017, Plaintiff Ophelia Dubose filed a complaint against AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP (“AstraZeneca”), Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (“Bristol-Myers”), and McKesson Corporation (“McKesson”). Dubose is a citizen and resident of South Carolina. ECF No. 1 ¶ 7. Bristol-Myers is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in New York. Id. ¶ 9; ECF No. 13 at 11, n.4. AstraZeneca is a Delaware limited partnership with its principal place of business in Delaware. Id. ¶ 11. McKesson is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in California. Id. ¶ 12. The complaint alleges that Saxagliptin, a prescription drug under the brands Onglyza and Kombiglyze XR, causes heart failure, congestive heart failure, cardiac failure, death from heart failure, and other serious conditions to users who suffer from Type 2 diabetes, due to their increased cardiovascular risk. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were involved with aspects of bringing Saxagliptin to market, including, but not limited to, the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of the prescription drug. Id. ¶¶ 27-29, 33-35. In addition, Plaintiff claims that Defendants refused to warn, failed to warn, or “under-warned” about Saxagliptin's risks, and engaged in “inadequate clinical trials, testing and study, and inadequate reporting regarding the results of the clinical trials, testing and study.” See ECF No. 1 at 1-9, 11.

         On April 24, 2017, Defendants filed the instant motion, arguing that the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims with regard to AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers because they are out-of-state defendants and Plaintiff's claims do not arise from Defendants' conduct within California. ECF No. 13 at 9. In the alternative, Bristol-Myers, AstraZeneca, and McKesson move to transfer the case to the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina because Plaintiff resides in South Carolina and does not allege any connection to California. Id.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         “In opposition to a defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that jurisdiction is proper.” Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 F.3d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir. 2008). Absent an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only make a “prima facie showing” of personal jurisdiction. Id. (quoting Sher v. Johnson, 911 F.2d 1357, 1361 (9th Cir. 1990)). “Uncontroverted allegations in the plaintiff's complaint must be taken as true.” Id. Where there are “[c]onflicts between the parties over statements contained in affidavits, ” they “must be resolved in the plaintiff's favor.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 800 (9th Cir. 2004)).

         Before a court can exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant, the laws of the forum state must provide a basis for exercising personal jurisdiction, and the assertion of personal jurisdiction must comport with due process. CollegeSource, Inc. v. AcademyOne, Inc., 653 F.3d 1066, 1073-74 (9th Cir. 2011). Because “California's long-arm statute is co-extensive with federal standards, . . . a federal court may exercise personal jurisdiction if doing so comports with federal constitutional due process.” Id. (citing Panavision Int'l L.P. v. Toppen, 141 F.3d 1316, 1320 (9th Cir. 1998)).

         There are two types of personal jurisdiction: “general or all-purpose” and “specific or case-linked.” Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011) (citing Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 nn.8-9 (1984)). When a defendant's affiliations with the forum state are so “continuous and systematic” as to render the defendant “at home” in the state, a court may assert general jurisdiction to “hear any and all claims” against that defendant. Id.

         “Specific jurisdiction, on the other hand, depends on an affiliatio[n] between the forum and the underlying controversy, principal, activity or an occurrence that takes place in the forum State and is therefore subject to the State's regulation.” Goodyear, 564 U.S. at 919 (internal quotation marks omitted). In contrast to general jurisdiction, specific jurisdiction is also “confined to adjudication of issues deriving from, or connected with, the very controversy that establishes jurisdiction.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). In other words, specific jurisdiction “focuses on the relationship among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation.” Walden v. Fiore, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1121 (2014). The Ninth Circuit has established a “three-prong test for analyzing a claim of specific personal jurisdiction”:

(1) The non-resident defendant must purposefully direct his activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or resident thereof; or perform some act by which he purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws; (2) the claim must be one which arises out of or relates to the defendant's forum-related activities; and (3) the exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and substantial justice, i.e. it must be reasonable.

Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 802 (quoting Lake v. Lake, 817 F.2d 1416, 1421 (9th Cir. 1987)). “The plaintiff bears the burden of satisfying the first two prongs of the test.” Id. (citing Sher, 911 F.2d at 1361). If the plaintiff succeeds in doing so, “the burden then shifts to the defendant to ‘present a compelling case' that the exercise of jurisdiction would not be reasonable.” Id. (quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 477 (1985)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. ...


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