U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday signaled a willingness to place limits on where corporations can be sued in a dispute involving drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, a potential setback to plaintiffs’ lawyers who try to bring suits in friendly courts.
The justices heard arguments in Bristol-Myers’ appeal of a California Supreme Court ruling allowing that state’s courts to hear claims related to its blood-thinning medication Plavix even though most plaintiffs do not live in the state and the company is not based there.
The justices on Monday also were set to hear a similar appeal by Texas-based BNSF Railway Co of a 2015 Montana Supreme Court ruling allowing out-of-state residents to sue there over injuries that happened anywhere in BNSF’s nationwide network.
Companies and plaintiffs are engaged in a fight over where lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries should be filed. Companies typically can be sued in a state where they are headquartered or incorporated, as well as where they have significant ties.
The nine-member court’s conservative majority appeared to side with the companies’ view while its liberals wondered how it would be unfair to add out-of-state claims to a case that would go ahead anyway.
Conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy expressed skepticism over California handling matters for residents of all other states. “That’s a very patronizing view of federalism,” Kennedy told the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Thomas Goldstein.
Liberal Justice Elena Kagan suggested Bristol-Myers did not want to face multiple trials in California specifically because of plaintiff-friendly juries or the possibility of punitive damages.
“All of the above,” the company’s lawyer Neal Katyal said, adding that it is harder to get cases thrown out of court before trial in California.
The underlying lawsuits filed in 2012 against Bristol-Myers and California-based drug distributor McKesson Corp involved 86 California residents and 575 non-residents, alleging Plavix increased their risk of stroke, heart attack and internal bleeding.
The California Supreme Court ruled in August 2016 that it could preside over the Plavix case because Bristol-Myers Squibb conducted a national marketing campaign and sold nearly $1 billion of the drug in the state.
Bristol-Myers and other industry groups have argued that the ruling allows plaintiffs to bring lawsuits in states with more favorable laws and it hamstrings their ability to mount a full and fair defense.
Bristol-Myers is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)
‘Go look at President Trump’s Twitter’: Portland right-wing rally organizer claims ‘mission success’
The organizer of a far-right rally in Portland, Oregon claimed the event was a "success" after President Donald Trump attacked Portlandiers protesting the group.
"A confluence of protesters on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum merged on Portland’s waterfront Saturday in a tense but relatively uneventful face-off that brought national attention, including a tweet in the hours before the protest by President Trump decrying the city’s signature anti-fascist movement," the Oregonian reported Saturday.
When a similar right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Virginia killed Heather Heyer, Trump argued there were "fine people" on both sides of the "Unite the Right" rally.
Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?
The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.
"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.
The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."
White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting
Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.
King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.
A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.
Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.
Here's some of what people were saying: