United States District Court, S.D. California
CARRIE COLLINS, an individual, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
AUROBINDO PHARMA USA, INC.; and AUROBINDO LTD.; Defendants. Medication & Dose Quantity FUL Est. Replacement Cost
ORDER DENYING PLANTIFF'S MOTION TO REMAND AND
GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STAY [DOC. NOS. 5,
MICHAEL M. ANELLO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Carrie Collins (“Plaintiff”) filed this putative
class action against Defendants Aurobindo Pharma USA
(“Aurobindo USA”) and Aurobindo LTD,
(collectively, “Defendants”) in the Superior
Court of California, County of San Diego. See Doc.
No. 1-2, Ex. A (hereinafter “Compl.”). On April
15, 2019, Aurobindo USA removed the action to this Court
pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act
(“CAFA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d). See Doc. No. 1.
15, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to remand this action back
to state court. See Doc. No. 5. Aurobindo USA then
filed an opposition, to which Plaintiff replied. See
Doc. Nos. 14, 15. On May 22, 2019, Aurobindo USA filed a
motion to stay proceedings pending a decision by the Judicial
Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”).
See Doc. No. 6. Plaintiff subsequently filed an
opposition. See Doc. No. 13. Aurobindo USA did not
file a reply. See Docket.
Court found the matters suitable for determination on the
papers and without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule
7.1.d.1. See Doc. No. 16. For the reasons set forth
below, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's
motion to remand and GRANTS IN PART
Aurobindo USA's motion to stay.
about November 24, 2018, Plaintiff, a California resident,
was prescribed the prescription drug Valsartan-HCTZ 320-12.5
manufactured by Defendants. See Compl. ¶¶
2, 17. On December 31, 2018, Defendants recalled 80 lots of
valsartan-containing medications including Valsartan,
Valsartan HCTZ, and Amlodipine Valsartan
(“Valsartan”). See Doc. No. 1-3, ¶
9; Compl. ¶ 3.
March 11, 2019, Plaintiff filed this putative class action in
San Diego Superior Court, alleging three claims for relief:
(1) violation of California's Consumers Legal Remedies
Act, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1770(a)(5), 1770(a)(7); (2)
breach of implied warranty under California's
Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, Cal. Civ. Code
§§ 1792, 1791.1; and (3) violation of
California's Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. &
Prof. Code § 17200. See Compl. Plaintiff
defines the proposed class as “[a]ll persons or
entities who purchased or used Defendants' contaminated
Valsartan in California.” Id. ¶ 17.
removed the action to this Court on April 15, 2019.
See Doc. No. 1. Subsequently, Plaintiff filed the
instant motion to remand. See Doc. No. 5. Aurobindo
USA filed an answer on June 25, 2019. See Doc. No.
April 17, 2019, Aurobindo USA filed a Notice of Potential
Tag-Along Action with the JPML. See Doc. No. 6-1,
Ex. B. Pursuant to that notice, the JPML entered a
Conditional Transfer Order (“CTO”) on April 19,
2019, indicating that this action would be transferred to an
existing multi-district litigation (“MDL”) in the
District of New Jersey, In re: Valsartan Products
Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2875 (“Valsartan
MDL”), unless parties object to the transfer.
See Doc. No. 6-1, Ex. C. On April 26, 2019,
Plaintiff filed a notice of opposition to the CTO, and later
filed a motion to vacate or stay the CTO pending this
Court's decision on the instant motion to remand to state
court. See Doc. No. 6-1, ¶¶ 12, 14. As
such, the motion to vacate the CTO, the motion to remand, and
the motion to stay the action in this Court are all fully
interest of judicial efficiency, courts generally
“address subject matter jurisdiction at the outset in
the ‘mine run of cases,' and reach other issues
first only where the jurisdictional issue is ‘difficult
to determine,' and the other ground is relatively less
burdensome.” Potter v. Hughes, 546 F.3d 1051,
1061 (9th Cir. 2008). Further, the pendency of a CTO or
motion before the JPML “does not affect or suspend
orders and pretrial proceedings in any pending federal
district court action and does not limit the pretrial
jurisdiction of that court.” See J.P.M.L. Rule
2.1(d); Rivers v. Walt Disney Co., 980 F.Supp. 1358,
1360 (C.D. Cal. 1997) (noting that a court should not
automatically stay a case or suspend rulings upon a
party's motion before the JPML).
sole jurisdictional issue before the Court is whether it has
jurisdiction pursuant to CAFA. See Doc. No. 5-1.
Thus, it is not so difficult to determine that a decision
should be deferred to the JPML. See Conroy v. Fresh Del
Monte Produce Inc., 325 F.Supp.2d 1049, 1053 (N.D. Cal.
2004) (finding a court should wait until transfer to an MDL
if jurisdictional issues are legally difficult). This Court
accordingly addresses Plaintiff's remand motion prior to
addressing Aurobindo USA's motion to stay.