Fitzsimmons Law Firm Successfully Obtains Remand Order in West Virginia Attorney General's Claim Against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi
A New Jersey District Court has remanded the State of West Virginia's parens patriae lawsuit against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi to the Circuit Court of Marshall County, West Virginia. Attorneys from the Fitzsimmons Law Firm were appointed Special Assistant Attorneys General of the State of West Virginia to prosecute claims against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi concerning their alleged fraudulent marketing of the prescription drug Plavix. According to the Complaint, Bristol-Myers and Sanofi engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices regarding their marketing of Plavix by asserting without justification that Plavix was a superior drug to aspirin for certain indicated usages and charging approximately one hundred times more for Plavix than aspirin despite Plavix having no such superior efficacy. The State of West Virginia asserted causes of action for (1) violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, W.Va. Code §§ 46A-7-101, et seq. ("WVCCPA"); (2) misrepresentations to the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) in violation of W.Va. Code § 5-16-12; (3) violations of the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act, W.Va. Code § 33-41-11; (4) unjust enrichment; and (5) common law fraud and sought injunctive relief, civil penalties, restitution and disgorgement.
Bristol-Myers and Sanofi removed the case to federal court alleging federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), diversity jurisdiction, and federal question jurisdiction. The Defendants further alleged that the Attorney General could not bring a consumer protection claim against a pharmaceutical company and, therefore, West Virginia was not a real party in interest. The case was subsequently transferred to the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) court in New Jersey which had been established to handled all federal personal injury and deceptive marketing claims related to Plavix. Attorneys from Fitzsimmons Law Firm filed a Motion to Remand the case back to the Circuit Court of Marshall County arguing that the State could properly maintain a claim under the West Virginia Consumer Protection Act against a pharmaceutical company and further that CAFA, diversity, and federal question jurisdiction were nonexistent. The federal district judge for the District of New Jersey agreed with the State's position and granted its Motion to Remand. The case is now pending in the Circuit Court of Marshall County, West Virginia.