Press Release May 29, 2012

Goodwin Litigators Prevail for Teva Pharmaceuticals on Personal Jurisdiction in Louisiana Products Liability Action

In April, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana granted a motion to dismiss for Goodwin Procter client Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. in a products liability action involving the prescription drug metoclopramide. The court’s ruling, based on its lack of personal jurisdiction over Teva Ltd., came after the court considered a total of 11 briefs filed by the parties over the course of more than a year.

The plaintiff, Lindsey Whitener, alleged that she had developed pregnancy complications and that her child had developed various health problems as a result of Lindsey Whitener’s ingestion during pregnancy of metoclopramide tablets allegedly manufactured and sold by Teva Ltd. and other manufacturers. The plaintiff’s complaint asserted various causes of action, including negligence and strict liability for failure to warn, design defect and manufacturing defect. All claims against Teva Ltd. were dismissed by the court’s April ruling.

The court held that it did not have personal jurisdiction over Teva Ltd., a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Israel. The plaintiff had argued that her claims should not be dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction because (i) Teva Ltd. had the requisite continuous and systematic contacts with Louisiana to support general jurisdiction and/or (ii) the activities of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., an indirect  wholly-owned subsidiary of Teva Ltd., whose products are sold in Louisiana, should be ascribed to Teva Ltd. for the purposes of the jurisdictional analysis.

Considering the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 131 S. Ct. 2846 (2011), the Whitener court dismissed all claims against Teva Ltd. on the grounds that the court could not exert personal jurisdiction over Teva Ltd.

The Goodwin litigation team included partners Jonathan Price and Richard Oetheimer.