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U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee again grants summary judgment in favor of Firm client Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in five more cases brought by non-U.S. plaintiffs.

On April 12, 2010, the United State District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, again granted summary judgment in favor of Firm client Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“NPC”) and dismissed five more cases brought by plaintiffs who reside outside the United States based on the plaintiffs’ failure, “[j]ust as before,” to rebut evidence that NPC did not manufacture the drugs they were treated with.  In so doing, the District Court followed its December 2, 2008 order – and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ November 24, 2009 decision that upheld that order – that dismissed five other non-U.S. plaintiffs’ cases and also denied plaintiffs’ “essentially identical” motion for additional discovery.  In re: Aredia and Zometa Products Liability Litigation, Nos. 3:09-CV-00366, 3:09-CV-00461, 3:09-CV-00463, 3:09-CV-00466, and 3:09-CV-01083 (M.D. Tenn. April 12, 2010).

The District Court found plaintiffs’ failure to rebut NPC’s undisputed evidence and plaintiffs’ request for additional discovery “astounding, given the prior Orders of this Court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals[,]” noting that “a fundamental principle of traditional products liability law is that plaintiffs must prove that the defendant supplied the product which caused the injury.”  “Just as before,” the District Court also rejected plaintiffs’ motion to take additional discovery under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(f), holding that plaintiffs knew of their duty to sue the correct entity since December of 2008 and “[j]ust as before, Plaintiffs should have sought this discovery long before now.”  The District Court also observed that “Plaintiffs again have never explained why they did not” conduct a pre-suit investigation into the identity of the correct defendant, “as Rule 11 would seem to require.”

The five cases, like the five earlier dismissed non-U.S. plaintiffs’ cases, had been part of the In re Aredia and Zometa Products Liability Litigation, a multidistrict litigation centralized in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.  The MDL was assigned to Chief Judge Campbell by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on April 18, 2006. Hollingsworth LLP is counsel for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

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