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New Jersey Court Grants Summary Judgment to Novartis and Dismisses Case Brought by Non-U.S. Plaintiff

news | July 23, 2010

Judge Jessica Mayer, Mass Tort Judge for the New Jersey Superior Court in Middlesex County, granted summary judgment in favor of Firm client Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (“NPC”) and dismissed a case brought by a Canadian plaintiff based on the plaintiff’s failure to offer “any evidence to dispute” that NPC did not manufacture or distribute the drugs she was treated with or “convince the court that further discovery is warranted.”  In so doing, the New Jersey Court found earlier rulings by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on issues “identical” to those before the New Jersey Court “highly persuasive,” and held similarly that plaintiff failed to fulfill her “obligation to establish product identification information before even filing” a lawsuit and provided no explanation of “why she failed to do so.”  See McCully v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., MID-L-10214-07, In re: Zometa®/Aredia® Litigation, Case No. 278 MT (Law Div., July 23, 2010).

Just as in the prior federal court rulings, the New Jersey Court noted that plaintiff failed to rebut NPC’s evidence and denied plaintiff’s request for additional discovery, holding that plaintiff “had more than ample time to gather evidence to respond to [NPC’s] motion.”  The Court rejected plaintiff’s claim “that she only recently learned NPC was not the proper defendant,” observing that plaintiff was repeatedly advised since 2007 when her complaint was filed that NPC was not the proper defendant – through NPC’s answer, affidavits of NPC employees, federal court orders in 2008, 2009, and 2010 granting summary judgment to NPC on identical issues, by correspondence from NPC, and through NPC’s discovery responses – and long ago “should have been concerned that NPC was not the proper defendant.”

This case had been part of the In re: Zometa®/Aredia® Litigation, a mass tort action centralized in New Jersey Superior Court, Middlesex County.