Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Mass Torts Court grants additional Forum Non Conveniens Dismissal Motions for firm client General Electric in two gadolinium cases.
On July 28, 2010 and August 2, 2010, the Hon. Sandra Mazer Moss, the judge presiding over the Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agent (GBCA) mass torts cases for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, granted two more motions to dismiss cases on forum non conveniens grounds. The motions had been filed by Hollingsworth LLP for defendants General Electric Company and GE Healthcare, Inc. (GEHC). (Links to the motions available here: Collins v. GE Healthcare Inc. et al., Whitted v. GE Healthcare Inc. et al.). Just as in the prior three cases dismissed on forum non conveniens grounds (Clark v. GE Healthcare Inc. et al., Haynes v. GE Healthcare Inc. et al., and Torres v. GE Healthcare Inc. et al.), the plaintiffs were not Pennsylvania residents and they had never been exposed to GBCAs in Pennsylvania. Plaintiffs again contended that Pennsylvania was an appropriate forum because defendant Bayer Corporation was headquartered in Pittsburgh. Defendants presented evidence, however, that Bayer Corp. was a holding company which had no significant involvement in the activities allegedly giving rise to the litigation. Plaintiffs also alleged incidental GEHC contacts with Pennsylvania, including, e.g., that a GEHC witness who worked at GEHC in New Jersey lived in Pennsylvania. The GE defendants demonstrated that private and public factors, including difficulties in discovery, unavailability of trial witnesses, and displacement of Pennsylvania plaintiffs by plaintiffs with no meaningful Pennsylvania connections, favored dismissal. Further, GEHC demonstrated that the states of plaintiffs' residence, plaintiffs' exposure, defendants' residence, or the Federal Multidistrict litigation (N.D. Ohio) would be much more appropriate fora. Judge Moss is currently considering additional forum non conveniens motions and defendants may file additional motions.