United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
I. QUINONES ALEJANDRO JUDGE.
NOW, this 16th day of December 2019, upon
consideration of the motion to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction or, in the alternative, to transfer
venue, [ECF 4], filed by Defendants Ethicon, Inc. and
Johnson & Johnson (collectively, "Moving
Defendants"), Plaintiffs response in opposition thereto,
[ECF 6], Moving Defendants' reply, [ECF 8],
Defendants' supplemental authority, [ECF 12], and the
allegations contained in the operative complaint, [ECF 1,
Exs. A, B], it is hereby ORDERED that
Defendants' motion to dismiss is DENIED,
Defendants' alternative motion to transfer venue is
GRANTED. The Clerk of Court is directed to
TRANSFER this matter to the United States
District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1404.
In their underlying motion, Moving
Defendants argue that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction
over them because they are not "at home" in
Pennsylvania, as required by the seminal Supreme Court
decision, Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117 (2014),
and because Plaintiffs claims do not arise out of any
contacts Moving Defendants have with Pennsylvania. While
Plaintiff concedes that this Court lacks general jurisdiction
over Moving Defendants under Daimler, she argues
that this Court possesses specific jurisdiction over them
because her claims arise out of Moving Defendants'
contacts with Pennsylvania. In particular, Plaintiff argues
that Moving Defendants worked with Secant Medical, Inc. and
Secant Medical, LLC (collectively, "Secant") who,
at Moving Defendants' direction and specification and
while located in Pennsylvania, created the mesh that is at
the heart of Plaintiff s product liability claims. This Court
agrees with Plaintiff.
Specific jurisdiction over corporate defendants is
found where there is an "affiliation between the forum
and the underlying controversy, principally, [an] activity or
occurrence that takes place in the forum state."
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Super. Ct. of Calif, 137
S.Ct. 1773, 1781 (2017) (citations omitted). The affiliation
must consist of conduct that is both connected to the forum
state and relevant to the claims in the case. Id.
This Court finds that Plaintiff s claims meet these
requirements. Plaintiff has alleged that she was injured by
the negligent and defective design and manufacture of the TVT
pelvic mesh device, which Moving Defendants manufactured
using the defective mesh made by Secant in Pennsylvania.
Secant allegedly made the mesh at Moving Defendants'
direction and specifications. As such, there exists a
sufficient affiliation between Pennsylvania, Moving
Defendants' contacts with this forum, and Plaintiffs
claims. See Carlino v. Ethicon, Inc., 208 A.3d 92
(Pa. Super. Ct. 2019) (holding that "the trial court
properly exercised jurisdiction over Ethicon based on . . .
Ethicon's substantial role in the production of mesh for
the TVT at the Pennsylvania plant of Secant Medical,
Inc."); Hammons v. Ethicon, Inc., 190 A.3d
1248, 1263-64 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2018) ("The connection
between Ethicon and Pennsylvania is considerably stronger
than the connection between Bristol-Myers and California.
Ethicon supervised the design and manufacturing process of
pelvic mesh in Pennsylvania in collaboration with Secant
Medical, Inc., a Bucks County company."); In re
Pelvic Mesh Litig., No. 140200829 (Pa. Ct. Cm. PI. May
18, 2018) ("Since a portion of the manufacturing process
of the . . . TVT . . . pelvic mesh medical devices occurs in
Pennsylvania, this Court's exercise of specific personal
jurisdiction comports with traditional notions of fair play
and substantial justice."), aff'd, 2019 WL
1486697 (Pa. Super. Ct. Apr. 3, 2019). Accordingly, Moving
Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction is denied.
 As to the propriety of a transfer of
this matter to the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Wisconsin, neither party disputes that
this Court may do so pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404.
Section 1404 allows a court to transfer a matter to any other
district where venue is proper "[f]or the convenience of
the parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice . . .
." Id. It also allows transfer to "any
district... to which all parties have consented."
Id. Here, by way of the parties' underlying
filings, the parties have consented to venue of this matter
in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. In addition, and as the
parties have conceded, venue is proper in the Eastern
District of Wisconsin because Plaintiff is a resident of
Wisconsin and suffered her alleged harm there. See
18 U.S.C. § 1391(b). Further, as also conceded by the
parties, the public and private factors set forth by the
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in
Jumara v. Stale Farm Ins. Co.,55 F.3d 873, 879 ...