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Adams v. Teva Parenteral Medicines, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

August 26, 2019

YVETTE ADAMS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
TEVA PARENTERAL MEDICINES, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          GLORIA M. NAVARRO, CHIEF JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is the Motion to Remand, (ECF No. 9), [1] filed by Plaintiffs Yvette Adams, Margaret Adymy, Thelma Anderson, John Andrews, Maria Artiga, Lupita Avila-Medel, Henry Ayoub, Joyce Bakkedahl, Donald Becker, James Bedino, Edward Benavente, Margarita Benavente, Susan Biegler, Kenneth Burt, Margaret Calavan, Marcelina Castaneda, Vickie Cole-Campbell, Sherrill Coleman, Nancy Cook, and James Duarte (collectively “Plaintiffs”). Defendants Teva Parenteral Medicines, Inc., Sicor, Inc., Baxter Healthcare Corporation, and McKesson Medical Surgical, Inc. (collectively “Defendants”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 14), and Plaintiffs filed a Reply, (ECF No. 15).

         For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs are adult individuals who underwent treatment at a medical center in Las Vegas, Nevada (the “Clinic”) between 2004 and 2008 for endoscopy procedures. (See Compl. ¶¶ 7-8, Ex. A to Pet. for Removal, ECF No. 1-1). Under the care of the Clinic's health care providers, Plaintiffs were injected with propofol, an anesthetic drug manufactured, marketed, distributed, and sold by Defendants to the Clinic. (Id. ¶¶ 2-4, 7, 12).

         On February 28, 2008, the Southern Nevada Health District sent a letter to 60, 000 former Clinic patients, including Plaintiffs, stating they were at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. (Id. ¶ 15). The letter recommended that all persons who received an injection at the [Clinic] between March of 2004 and January of 2008, ” as well as their spouses, be tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV. (Id. ¶ 11). Plaintiffs obtained the recommended testing and ultimately learned they were infection-free. (Id. ¶ 13). In doing so, Plaintiffs incurred medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses, and endured emotional distress, anxiety, and fear during the pendency of their respective test results. (Id. ¶ 17). According to the Complaint, at all relevant times to this action, Defendants knew or should have known that the Clinic's practices “involved the re-use of injection syringes and anesthesia bottles, ” creating a “foreseeable risk of infection/cross-contamination between patients with whom said syringes and anesthesia bottles were shared.” (Id. ¶ 9).

         Plaintiffs filed this action in state court on July 26, 2018, bringing the following causes of action against Defendants: (1) strict product liability; (2) breach of the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose; (3) negligence; (4) violation of the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act; and (5) punitive damages. (Id. ¶¶ 19-60). On December 10, 2018, Defendants removed the case here on the grounds of diversity and federal-question jurisdiction. (See Pet. for Removal, ECF No. 1). Shortly thereafter, Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion requesting that the Court remand this action back to state court. (See Mot. to Remand, ECF No. 9).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing only those powers granted by the Constitution and by statute. See United States v. Marks, 530 F.3d 799, 810 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted). For this reason, “[i]f at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). District courts have subject-matter jurisdiction in two instances. First, district courts have subject-matter jurisdiction over civil actions that arise under federal law. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Second, district courts have subject-matter jurisdiction over civil actions where no plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as a defendant and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a).

         A defendant may remove an action to federal court only if the district court has original jurisdiction over the matter. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). “Removal statutes are to be ‘strictly construed' against removal jurisdiction.” Nevada v. Bank of Am. Corp., 672 F.3d 661, 667 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Syngenta Crop Prot., Inc. v. Henson, 537 U.S. 28, 32 (2002)). “The ‘strong presumption against removal jurisdiction means that the defendant always has the burden of establishing that removal is proper,' and that the court resolves all ambiguity in favor of remand to state court.” Hunter v. Philip Morris USA, 582 F.3d 1039, 1042 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir.1992) (per curiam)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiffs move to remand this action on the basis that the Court is without subject-matter jurisdiction. (See generally Mot. to Remand, ECF No. 9). Defendants oppose Plaintiffs' Motion, contending this Court enjoys both diversity jurisdiction, as well as federal-question jurisdiction. (Defs.' Resp. to Mot. to Remand (“Resp.”) 4:6-9:13, ECF No. 14).

         The Court begins with diversity jurisdiction, followed by federal-question jurisdiction.

         A. Diversity Jurisdiction

         Federal courts have diversity jurisdiction over all civil actions in which the amount in controversy: (1) exceeds the sum or value of $75, 000; and (2) is between citizens of different states. 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). In the present case, it is undisputed that complete diversity of citizenship exists because no Plaintiff is a citizen of the same state as any Defendant. (See Pet. for Removal ΒΆΒΆ 8-11, ECF No. 1); ...


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