May 03, 2017 Articles

The Challenges of Representing Out-of-State Parties in Pharma and Medical Device Litigation

By Hon. Gail Andler

Trying a pharma or medical device case in state court with an out-of-state plaintiff presents special challenges. Jurisdiction issues are front and center as we await review by the U.S. Supreme Court of the California Supreme Court’s decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California. Under what circumstances can a nonresident sue a pharmaceutical manufacturer in California where the pharmaceutical manufacturer is both headquartered and incorporated outside of California? The briefs of the parties, and of the many amici curiae, should prove interesting reading as we wait for the Supreme Court of the United States to answer the question presented in the petition for certiorari: “Whether a plaintiff’s claims arise out of or relate to a defendant’s forum activities when there is no causal link between the defendant’s forum contacts and the plaintiff’s claims—that is, where the plaintiff’s claims would be exactly the same even if the defendant had no forum contacts.”

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