Before its summer recess, the Supreme Court handed down two decisions that will benefit corporations seeking to avoid being sued in “plaintiff-friendly” courts.
In Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, in a mass action involving injuries allegedly caused by the drug Plavix, the Supreme Court held that California courts “lacked specific jurisdiction over the claims of out-of-state plaintiffs” who had joined the mass action.
In BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrell, the Court held that “due process did not allow Montana courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over out-of-state plaintiffs suing their employer under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act for injuries sustained outside Montana.”
Pierce Atwood litigation partner Donald R. Frederico, who also heads the firm’s class action defense practice, noted that while Bristol-Myers is a mass tort case, it also “provides support for defense arguments in the class action context as well.”
Don added, “It’s clear from the case that a court cannot exercise jurisdiction over a defendant where the defendant is not subject to general jurisdiction, the class representatives are from other states, and the claim did not ‘arise’ in the forum state.”
The complete article appears in the July 13, 2017 issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.