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Kwasniewski v. Sanofi-Aventis U.S., LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 30, 2018

JENNIFER KWASNIEWSKI, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SANOFI-AVENTIS U.S. LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Gloria M. Navarro, Chief Judge United States District Court

         Pending before the Court are the Objections, (ECF Nos. 166, 175, 193) (collectively the “Objections”), to the Honorable Magistrate Judge Nancy J. Koppe's Orders, (ECF Nos. 165, 174, 192), filed by Plaintiffs Jennifer Kwasniewsk, Estate of Andrew A. Kwasniewski, Taylor L. Kwasniewski, and Dylan A. Kwasniewski (collectively “Plaintiffs”). Defendant Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC (“Defendant”) filed Responses, (ECF Nos. 168, 176, 196), and Plaintiffs filed a single Reply, (ECF No. 197), to one of its Objections, (ECF No. 193).

         Also pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, (ECF No. 210)[1], to which Plaintiffs filed a Response, (ECF No. 211)[2]. Defendant failed to file a reply, and the time to do so has passed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This dispute arises out of the tragic passing of Andrew Kwasniewski (“Decedent”), who had been prescribed Ambien CR (“Ambien”) at the time of his death. (See Second Am. Compl. (“SAC”), ECF No. 209). Defendant manufactures the prescription drug Ambien, a sleep aid medication. (SAC ¶ 16). Plaintiffs assert that Defendant had knowledge that Ambien may produce suicidal thoughts, ideations, or actions. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 21-22). Despite Defendant's awareness of these side effects, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant marketed, manufactured, sold, and distributed Ambien, but failed to provide physicians and consumers with adequate warnings about its suicide-related side effects. (Id. ¶¶ 23-24).

         One of these consumers, Decedent, had been prescribed Ambien by his physician for sleeplessness. (Id. ¶ 29, 60). On March 8, 2010, Decedent took the medication as prescribed by his physicians. (Id. ¶ 18). Plaintiffs assert that because Decedent took Ambien, Decedent committed suicide by a gunshot injury to his temple and died on March 9, 2010. (Id. ¶ 64).

         Plaintiffs, the surviving members of Decedent's family, initially commenced the action in state court, (see Pet. For Removal at 2, ECF No. 1), but on March 27, 2012, Defendant removed the action to this Court, (id.). Plaintiffs allege the following causes of action against Defendant: (1) strict liability; (2) failure to warn; and (3) negligence. (Id. ¶¶ 69-116).

         On April 25, 2016, the Court granted Plaintiffs' unopposed Motion to Amend/Correct Complaint. (See Min. Order, ECF No. 147). On April 25, 2016, Plaintiffs filed their First Amended Complaint. (See First Am. Compl., ECF No. 148). On May 27, 2016, Plaintiffs filed an additional unopposed Motion to Amend/Correct Complaint, (ECF No. 154), which disposed of Plaintiffs' fourth cause of action for punitive damages and instead included punitive damages in Plaintiffs' prayer for relief. (See First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 114-118, ECF No. 148); (see also Mot. to Amend/Correct, Ex. 1 at 26, ECF No. 154-1).

         The Court granted Plaintiffs' second request to amend, and Plaintiffs filed the current Second Amended Complaint. (See Min. Order, ECF No. 205). In the instant Motion to Dismiss, Defendant requests that the Court dismiss the first and third count “for failure to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted.” (Mot. to Dismiss 2:4-5, ECF No. 210).

         Additionally, on June 8, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a Second Motion to Stay Discovery based on the assertion that discovery should not continue while Plaintiffs were awaiting Defendant's Answer to the First Amended Complaint and notice of Defendant's affirmative defenses. (See Mot. to Stay 2:19-22, ECF No.). On June 17, 2016, Judge Koppe denied Plaintiffs' Second Motion to Stay Discovery. (See Order, ECF No. 165). Plaintiffs filed an Objection to the Court's Order seeking to reverse the ruling and stay discovery pending the filing of Defendant's Answer. (Id. 10:7-8, ECF No. 166). After the Motion to Stay Discovery was denied, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Protective Order, (ECF No. 171), requesting to stay subpoenas served by Defendant. (See Mot. for Protective Order 6:8-9, ECF No. 171). The Court denied the Motion for Protective Order for similar reasons as the Order denying the Motion to Stay Discovery. (See Order, ECF No. 174). On November 18, 2016, Plaintiffs filed an Objection to the Court's Order denying the Motion for Protective Order seeking reversal. (See Obj. ECF No. 175).

         Thereafter, Defendant filed a Motion for Protective Order objecting to forty-one of the topics set forth in Plaintiffs' Rule 30(b)(6) deposition notice and moved the Court to limit or quash the notice. (Mot. for Protective Order at 8-22, ECF No. 177). Judge Koppe granted in part and denied in part Defendant's Motion for Protective Order, and Plaintiffs filed an Objection to this Order seeking to reverse the Court's holding. (See Order, ECF No. 192); (see also Obj., ECF No. 193).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Objections to Magistrate Judge's Order

         When reviewing the order of a magistrate judge, the order should only be set aside if the order is clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); LR IB 3-1(a); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Laxalt v. McClatchy, 602 F.Supp. 214, 216 (D. Nev. 1985). A magistrate judge's order is “clearly erroneous” if the court has “a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” See United States v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948); Burdick v. Comm'r IRS, 979 F.2d 1369, 1370 (9th Cir. 1992). “An order is contrary to law when it fails to apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law or rules of procedure.” UnitedHealth Grp., Inc. v. United Healthcare, Inc., No. 2:14-cv-00224-RCJ, 2014 WL 4635882, at *1 (D. Nev. Sept. 16, 2014). When reviewing the order, however, the magistrate judge “is afforded broad discretion, which will be overruled only if abused.” Columbia Pictures, Inc. v. Bunnell, 245 F.R.D. 443, 446 (C.D. Cal. ...


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