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Williams v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

June 26, 2019

JEFFREY R. WILLIAMS and TONIA WILLIAMS, H/W, Plaintiffs,
v.
TAKEDA PHARMACEUTICALS AMERICA, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          GERALD J. PAPPERT, J.

         Jeffrey Williams and his wife Tonia sued Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. (“Takeda America”), Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. f/k/a Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc. (“Takeda USA”), Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company, Ltd. (“Takeda Limited”) and Takeda Global Research and Development Center, Inc. (“Takeda R&D”) for negligence and eight related claims under Pennsylvania state law. The claims arise from bladder cancer Jeffrey contracted after taking Defendants' medication Actos for over a year to treat his type 2 diabetes.

         Takeda America, Takeda USA and Takeda R&D (“Defendants”) move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.[1] None of the Defendants are incorporated in or have their principal places of business in Pennsylvania. Takeda America and Takeda USA, however, are registered to do business as foreign corporations under 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5301. The Court grants in part and denies in part the Motion for the reasons that follow.

         I

         Actos is a prescription medication that helps control glucose levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. (Compl. at 2 & ¶ 28, ECF No. 1.)[2] Defendants design, test, manufacture, distribute and market Actos in Pennsylvania. (Id. at ¶¶ 9, 15, 26, 28.) Takeda America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Takeda USA, (id. at ¶ 7), and Takeda USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Takeda Limited, (id. at ¶ 13). Takeda R&D is also a subsidiary of Takeda Limited. (Id. at ¶ 24.)[3] Takeda America and Takeda USA are incorporated in Delaware and have their principal places of business in Illinois. (Id. at ¶¶ 6, 12.) Both are registered to do business in Pennsylvania and maintain a registered agent, CT Corporations Systems, in Philadelphia. (Id.)

         From February 2, 2010 through November 2, 2011, Jeffrey took Actos to treat his type 2 diabetes and subsequently contracted bladder cancer. (Id. at ¶¶ 28-29.) He contends, among other things, that Defendants failed to adequately test Actos, negligently manufactured and placed an unreasonably dangerous product in the stream of commerce and “actively concealed” the increased risk of developing bladder cancer “associated with more than twelve months of Actos ingestion.” (Id. at ¶¶ 29, 32, 47, 62- 64.) Although Plaintiffs have not specified whether they were living at their current home in New Jersey when Jeffrey took Actos and contracted bladder cancer, Jeffrey alleges that he sought treatment from medical professionals in and around Philadelphia because he was working for a corporation in Pennsylvania at the time. (Id. at ¶¶ 4-5, 30-31.) Jeffrey alleges that he is no longer employed by that corporation as a result of the injuries he suffered from the “defective nature of Actos.” (Id. at ¶ 31.)

         On November 5, 2011, Jeffrey and Tonia sued the Defendants for negligence, failure to warn, defective design, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, breach of implied warranty of merchantability, negligence per se, negligent misrepresentation and loss of consortium. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) On January 18, 2019, Defendants moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. (Mot., ECF No. 4.)

         II

         Defendants move to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2). Once challenged, Plaintiffs bear the burden to establish personal jurisdiction. O'Connor v. Sandy Lane Hotel Co., 496 F.3d 312, 316 (3d Cir. 2007) (citing Gen. Elec. Co. v. Deutz AG, 270 F.3d 144, 150 (3d Cir. 2001)). Where, as here, the Court does not hold an evidentiary hearing, Plaintiffs need only establish a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction. Id. (quoting Miller Yacht Sales, Inc. v. Smith, 384 F.3d 93, 97 (3d Cir. 2004)). They may use “affidavits or other competent evidence” to demonstrate “with reasonable particularity” sufficient contacts between Defendants and the forum. Lehigh Gas Wholesale, LLC v. LAP Petroleum, LLC, 2015 WL 1312213 at *2 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 23, 2015) (quoting Metcalfe v. Renaissance Marine, Inc., 566 F.3d 324, 330 (3d Cir. 2009), O'Connor, 496 F.3d at 316 and Mellon Bank (E.) PSFS, Nat'l Ass'n v. Farino, 960 F.2d 1217, 1223 (3d Cir. 1992)). The Court accepts the Complaint's factual allegations as true. O'Connor, 496 F.3d at 316 (quoting Miller Yacht Sales, 384 F.3d at 97).

         Courts sitting in diversity apply the law of the forum state to determine whether jurisdiction is proper. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(1)(A). Pennsylvania's long-arm statute is coextensive with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5322(b) (allowing courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over nonresidents “to the fullest extent under the Constitution of the United States and may be based on the most minimum contact with th[e] Commonwealth allowed under the Constitution of the United States); see also Mellon Bank, 960 F.2d at 1221 (“The Pennsylvania statute permits the courts of that state to exercise personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants to the constitutional limits of the [D]ue [P]rocess [C]lause of the [F]ourteenth [A]mendment.”) Accordingly, the Court's jurisdiction is proper so long as Defendants have “certain minimum contacts with Pennsylvania such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” O'Connor, 496 F.3d at 316-17 (citing Int'l Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945)).

         There are two types of personal jurisdiction: general and specific. See Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Super. Ct. of Cal., S.F. Cty., 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1780 (2017). A court with general jurisdiction may hear any claim against a defendant, even if all the incidents underlying the claim occurred in a different state. Id. (citing Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011)). However, specific jurisdiction is “confined to adjudication of issues deriving from, or connected with, the very controversy that establishes jurisdiction.” Id. (quoting Goodyear, 564 U.S. at 919). Each defendant's contacts with the forum state must be assessed individually. Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 790 (1984).

         A

Pennsylvania's jurisdictional statute provides, in relevant part:
(a) General rule.-The existence of any of the following relationships between a person and this Commonwealth shall constitute a sufficient basis of jurisdiction to enable the tribunals of this Commonwealth to exercise general personal jurisdiction over such person, or his personal representative in the case of an individual, and to ...

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