The ruling did not address whether the 106 cases will remain in US District Court for Eastern District of Pennsylvania or be rolled into MDL 2750 for Invokana (Canagliflozin) Products Liability Litigation in New Jersey.
Invokana is a prescription drug used to treat Type 2 Diabetes. Plaintiffs describe a variety of ailments, including kidney failure and diabetic ketoacidosis. The case is Arthur Portnoff v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Case No. 16-5955.
Class Action Fairness Act
Defendants removed all 106 cases to US District Court on Nov. 9, 2016, asserting federal jurisdiction as a “mass action” pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”). The plaintiffs contested removal and filed a motion to remand arguing that Defendants’ attempt to remove those cases was untimely, and that the federal Court lacked jurisdiction under CAFA.
To remove a mass action under CAFA, there must be 100 or more plaintiffs. The initial consolidation petition was filed on September 23, 2016, but was later withdrawn on October 11, 2016. On the same day, a second petition was filed.
The plaintiffs argued unsuccessfully that a 30-day time clock started running on Sept. 23. But Judge Goldberg ruled that the first petition was “legally inoperable.” The defendants filed within the time limit starting from the Oct. 11 petition.
The plaintiffs also argued that the Second Petition contemplated consolidation for pretrial proceedings only and that the single mention of a joint trial in the Second Petition’s conclusion was a “scrivener’s error.” Plaintiff’s counsel explained that she used a previously filed petition as a template for the Second Petition and that the proposal for a joint trial contained therein was a scrivener’s error.
However, 5 other plaintiff lawyers approved the document and failed to comment on the scrivener’s error, undermining their argument.
“So long as CAFA’s other jurisdictional requirements are met, federal district courts have jurisdiction over: any civil action . . . in which monetary relief claims of 100 or more persons are proposed to be tried jointly on the ground that the plaintiffs’ claims involve common questions of law or fact, except that jurisdiction shall exist only over those plaintiffs whose claims in a mass action satisfy the jurisdictional amount requirements . . . .,” the court said.