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Incubadora Mexicana, SA de CV v. Zoetis, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 31, 2015

INCUBADORA MEXICANA, SA DE CV and INCUBADORAS RANCHO GRANDE S.A. DE C.V., Plaintiffs,
v.
ZOETIS, INC. and PFIZER, INC., Defendants

Page 520

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 521

For INCUBADORA MEXICANA, SA DE CV, INCUBADORAS RANCHO GRANDE S.A. DE C.V., Plaintiffs: AARON J. FREIWALD, LEAD ATTORNEY, GLENN A. ELLIS, LAYSER & FREIWALD PC, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

For ZOETIS, INC., PFIZER, INC., Defendants: JOSEPH H. BLUM, Shook Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P., PHILADELPHIA, PA; SEAN P. WAJERT, SHOOK, HARDY, BACON LLP, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

OPINION

WENDY BEETLESTONE, United States District Judge.

Page 522

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs are Mexican chicken breeders who have sued two American pharmaceutical companies, Defendant Zoetis Inc. and Defendant Pfizer Inc., for claims based upon Defendants' alleged manufacture, sale, and distribution of a defective poultry vaccine, " Poulvac," which failed to prevent Plaintiffs' livestock from becoming infected with the deadly Marek virus. Before the Court is Defendant Zoetis, Inc.'s motion to dismiss on the grounds of forum non conveniens.[1] Zoetis asserts that the doctrine of forum non conveniens mandates dismissal because Mexico provides an adequate alternative forum for this dispute and the relevant interests weigh in favor of trial there. For the reasons set forth below, the motion shall be denied.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Incubadora Mexicana, SA de CV (" IMSA" ) is a Mexican company, with corporate quarters in Puebla, Mexico. Am. Compl. ¶ 3. Plaintiff Incubadoras Rancho Grande S.A. de C.V. (" Rancho Grande" ) is also a Mexican company, with corporate headquarters in Sonora, Mexico. Id. ¶ 5. Both IMSA and Rancho Grande breed and supply egg-laying chickens. Id. ¶ ¶ 4, 6. Rancho Grande also distributes chicken eggs. Id. ¶ 6.

Defendant Pfizer, Inc. (" Pfizer" ) is an international pharmaceutical company with corporate headquarters in New York, New York. Id. ¶ 8. In 1952, Defendant Pfizer created a dedicated animal health division for the development, manufacture and distribution of animal health pharmaceuticals. Id. ¶ 9. The North American headquarters for Pfizer's Animal Health Division was located in Exton, Pennsylvania with a distribution warehouse located in Lewisberry, Pennsylvania. Id. ¶ 10. In 2002, Pfizer announced the formation of Zoetis, Inc. (" Zoetis" ), which was to replace Pfizer's Animal Health Division and operate as an independent company. Id. ¶ 12. In June 2013, Zoetis moved its global headquarters from Pennsylvania to Florham Park, New Jersey and completed its corporate separation from Pfizer. Id. ¶ 13. Zoetis operates in four regions, including Mexico. Id. ¶ 15.

As part of their business, Plaintiffs routinely purchase a vaccine to protect their chickens from the Marek virus, which is often fatal to young chicks if not properly treated. Id. ¶ 27. Since at least 2007, Plaintiffs have purchased Defendants' Poulvac vaccine, which Defendants advertised as the " most effective [Marek vaccine] on the market." Id. ¶ ¶ 33-36. The shipment of the vaccines was controlled and supervised through a series of agents and couriers, all of whom Plaintiffs allege were selected and hired by Defendants. Id. ¶ 21. To effectuate sales to customers in Mexico, Defendants transferred title of the vaccine to a Belgian subsidiary. Id. ¶ 21(d). They transferred possession of the vaccine from the manufacturing plant to a customs agent, who brought the product through Mexican customs before turning it over to a Mexican " logistical services provider." Id. The logistical service provider then shipped the product, via courier, to regional sales representatives, who delivered the product to customers, including Plaintiffs. Id.

As a result of Plaintiffs' commercial relationship with Defendants, Plaintiffs " enjoyed a highly successful vaccination program in their poultry business, which resulted in very low rates of Marek's disease and in turn high yields of commercial eggs." Id. ¶ 40. In the summer

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of 2013 through the spring of 2014, Plaintiffs once again placed orders for Poulvac through Defendant Zoetis' sales and marketing staff. Id. ¶ 41. In January 2014, Defendants determined that the vaccine lots that had been shipped to Plaintiffs and other breeders in Mexico were defective because they had been improperly stored and/or transported. Id. ΒΆ 47. In response, Defendants Zoetis and Pfizer coordinated an effort to investigate, ...


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