Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Denied Due to Fraudulent Joinder of Talc Defendant U.S. District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division, February 14, 2019

MISSOURI — The plaintiff Shawnee D. Douglas originally filed suit against multiple entities, contending that her use of talc product caused her malignant mesothelioma. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) removed the case to federal court on the grounds that diversity of citizenship exists because, inter alia, the only Missouri-based defendant, PTI Union, was “fraudulently joined.”

Numerous motions were filed by the parties, including: Imerys Talc America, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff’s Petition for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction, the plaintiff’s Emergency Motion to Remand with Request for Expedited Consideration and related Motion for Telephonic Hearing, J&J’s Motion to Dismiss for Improper Venue or, in the alternative, Motion to Transfer, PTI Union’s Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff’s petition for Failure to State a Claim, and PTI Union’s Motion to Transfer for Improper Venue.

The plaintiff filed for an extension, which was granted, and the court adopted the parties’ proposal to decide the threshold matter of subject matter jurisdiction presented in the plaintiff’s Motion to Remand before it addresses Imery’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction.

When determining if a party has been fraudulently joined, a court considers whether there is any reasonable basis in fact or law to support a nondiverse defendant.  “Courts have long recognized fraudulent joinder as an exception to the complete diversity rule,” and determined that PTI was in fact fraudulently joined.  The court denied the plaintiff’s Motion to Remand, and granted PTI’s Motion to Dismiss.

Only the Westlaw citation is currently available at 2019 WL 626427.

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