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Federal court upholds pharmaceutical defendant’s pre-service removal.

news | August 16, 2007

On August 16, 2007, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey denied plaintiff’s motion to remand in Ripley v. Sandoz, Inc., finding removal to be proper under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1441(b) despite the presence of a forum defendant where removal took place prior to service.  The court noted that under the plain language of Section 1441(b), only a forum defendant that has been “properly joined and served” acts as a bar to removal.  The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that policy considerations should override the plain language of the statute, finding that removal in these circumstances did not produce a result “demonstrably at odds with Congressional intent.”  The court also refused to limit application of the “joined and served” requirement to cases in which at least one non-forum defendant has been served.  The court based its ruling on two similar decisions (Frick and Thomson) previously obtained by the Firm in favor of its pharmaceutical clients.