W.D. North Carolina Grants Novartis’s Motion to Preclude Punitive Damages Law

June 28, 2011

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina granted a motion filed by Firm client Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“NPC”) to preclude punitive damages law in this case involving claims that the drugs Aredia and/or Zometa caused the plaintiff to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw. The parties agreed that North Carolina law applied to plaintiff’s substantive causes of action, but NPC argued that New Jersey law should govern punitive damages because it was NPC’s alleged corporate conduct that was at issue in plaintiff’s request for punitive damages and NPC’s principal place of business is in New Jersey. The court agreed with NPC that New Jersey punitive damages law applied in this case because “the corporate decisions at issue regarding labeling and packaging, occurred in New Jersey” and held that “because New Jersey holds the most significant interest related to punitive damages in this case, New Jersey law shall apply to punitive damages.”  Because New Jersey law precludes punitive damages in cases involving pharmaceutical products approved by the FDA, the court precluded punitive damages entirely.

Talley v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., No. 3:08-CV-361-GCM, 2011 WL 2559974 (W.D.N.C. June 28, 2011)