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Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Grants Additional Forum Non Conveniens Dismissals Motions for General Electric in Gadolinium Cases.

news | September 1, 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).  Just as in the prior three cases dismissed on forum non conveniens grounds, 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.