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Haney-Williams v. Glaxosmithkline LLC

United States District Court, D. Nevada

December 27, 2019

GLAXOSMITHKLINE LLC, et al, Defendant(s).


         Presently before the court is defendant Jubilant Cadista Pharmaceutical's (“Jubilant”) motion to dismiss (ECF No. 41) plaintiff Devra Haney-Williams' amended complaint (ECF No. 30). Haney-Williams filed a response (ECF No. 55), to which Jubilant replied (ECF No. 60).

         Also before the court is Jubilant's motion to dismiss (ECF No. 43) cross-claimant Sam's West, Inc.'s d/b/a Sam's Pharmacy #10-4974 (“Sam's Pharmacy”) amended crossclaim (ECF No. 33). Sam's Pharmacy filed a response (ECF No. 47), to which Jubilant replied (ECF No. 59).

         I. Background

         This action arises from injuries Haney-Williams allegedly suffered as a result of her use of Lamotrigine, a generic prescription medication. (ECF No. 30). The amended complaint contains the following allegations:

         Jubilant is a pharmaceutical company that manufactures Lamotrigine, a generic prescription drug used to treat epilepsy. Id. On September 25, 2015, Haney-Williams was prescribed 25mg of Lamotrigine to be taken daily for one week, and then 50mg of the same to be taken daily during the second week. Id. The dosage was to increase on a weekly basis, up to 125 mg of Lamotrigine by the fifth week. Id.

         On October 6, 2015, Sam's Pharmacy dispensed one bottle of 100mg tablets of Lamotrigine (270 count) to Haney-Williams, rather than the prescribed 25mg tablets. Id. Sam's Pharmacy was aware that this was Haney-Williams' first prescription for Lamotrigine at the time it dispensed her prescription. Id.

         On or about October 13, 2015, Haney-Williams began taking the 100mg tablets on a daily basis. Id. On or about October 24, 2015, Haney-Williams was hospitalized and ultimately diagnosed with Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. Id. She suffered blistering and loss of skin over eighty percent of her body, as well as neurological injuries, and was rendered permanently blind. Id.

         Haney-Williams originally filed her complaint in Nevada state court on October 20, 2017. (ECF No. 1, Ex. A). Defendant GlaxoSmithKline LLC removed this action on November 20, 2017. (ECF No. 1). On November 13, 2018, Haney-Williams filed an amended complaint dismissing GlaxoSmithKline as a defendant and adding Jubilant as a defendant. (ECF No. 30). The amended complaint appears to assert several causes of action against Jubilant and Sam's Pharmacy.[1] Id.

         On November 27, 2018, Sam's Pharmacy filed an amended crossclaim against Jubilant, alleging seven causes of action: (1) comparative negligence; (2) equitable indemnity; (3) contractual indemnity; (4) contribution; (5) breach of contract; (6) breach of express and implied warranty; and (7) declaratory relief. (ECF No. 33).

         Now, Jubilant moves to dismiss Haney-Williams' amended complaint (ECF No. 41) and Sam's Pharmacy's amended crossclaim (ECF No. 43).

         II. Legal Standard

         A court may dismiss a plaintiff's complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pleaded complaint must provide “[a] short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands “more than labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).

         “Factual allegations must be enough to rise above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citation omitted).

         In Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step approach district courts are to apply when considering motions to dismiss. First, the court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint; however, legal conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Id. at 678-79. Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id.

         Second, the court must consider whether the factual allegations in the complaint allege a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff's complaint alleges facts that allow the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id. at 678.

         Where the complaint does not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has “alleged - but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679. When the allegations in a complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, plaintiff's claim must be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         The Ninth Circuit addressed post-Iqbal pleading standards in Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). The Starr court held,

First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth, allegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively. Second, the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is ...

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