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Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co. v. Anglin

Close Date: 10/05/2012
Topic(s): Class Actions
Docket: 12-147
Court: Select Court

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In this case, plaintiffs seeking damages against Bristol-Myers based on injuries they suffered from using the drug Plavix filed three separate actions in state court. In each case, fewer than 100 plaintiffs joined their claims together. Bristol-Myers tried to remove the cases to federal court under a provision of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) that allows defendants to remove “mass actions” to federal court. “Mass actions” are cases where claims of 100 or more individual plaintiffs are joined for trial. Because none of the cases met the 100-plaintiff threshold, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that they could not be removed. The court rejected Bristol-Myers’ argument that it could combine separate cases to meet the 100-plaintiff requirement. Bristol-Myers  sought review in the Supreme Court. Public Citizen, together with the attorneys who represented the plaintiffs in the lower courts, filed a brief in opposition to the petition for certiorari, explaining that there is no conflict among the lower courts that would justify review, and that the decision was correct under the plain language of CAFA. The Supreme Court denied review.