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Vazquez v. Bayer Corp.

United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

May 15, 2019, Decided; May 15, 2019, Filed

Civil Action No. 18-392

Opinion

Re: ECF No. 14, 68

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Defendants ("Bayer") removed this action from the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. (ECF No. 1). A Motion to Remand was filed by Plaintiffs, (ECF No. 14), and a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") was filed by the United States Magistrate Judge, (ECF No. 68), giving the parties until February 25, 2019, to file written objections thereto. Upon consideration of the Objections filed by Defendants, (ECF No. 70), and the Response to the Objections submitted by Plaintiffs, (ECF No. 71), as well as a review of the Notice of Supplemental Authority filed by Defendants, (ECF No. 76), and the Response thereto filed by Plaintiffs, [*3]  (ECF No. 77), and upon an independent review of the record, and upon consideration of the Magistrate Judge's R&R, the Court adopts the R&R as the Opinion of this Court, amended and supplemented as set forth in this Memorandum Order:

Plaintiffs in this case bring a number of claims under Pennsylvania state law alleging that Bayer's Essure birth control device caused them injuries. (ECF No. 68 at 1). Bayer removed the action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and argues that, despite federal law not creating a private right of action in this case, the allegations in the Complaint nonetheless "arise under" federal law so as to satisfy 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (Id. at 4). The Magistrate Judge recommended that Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand be granted and that this matter be remanded to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. (Id. at 14). The Magistrate Judge correctly observed that a cause of action under state law may nonetheless satisfy 28 U.S.C. § 1331 if a federal law issue is pled in the Complaint and is "(1) necessarily raised, (2) actually disputed, (3) substantial, and (4) capable of resolution in federal court without disrupting the federal-state balance approved by Congress." (Id. at 5) (quoting Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251, 258, 133 S. Ct. 1059, 185 L. Ed. 2d 72 (2013)). Bayer argues that these criteria are satisfied [*4]  because claims pled in the Complaint raise preemption conflicts with federal law and certain claims require the interpretation of federal regulations in order to impose liability. (ECF No. 68 at 4).

The Magistrate Judge disagreed and concluded that no federal issues were "necessarily raised" because, although some claims allege violations of federal regulations, Pennsylvania state law provides that certain parallel predicate acts may support the imposition of liability. (ECF No. 68 at 8). The Magistrate Judge further concluded that the parties did not raise an actual dispute about the interpretation of federal law, (id.), and that alleged Congressional concerns about uniform interpretation of the federal regulations governing these medical devices did not mean that that such issues were "substantial" enough so as to require that the claims be heard in a federal forum, (id. at 9). The Magistrate Judge also cited with approval and discussed the opinion of Judge John Padova of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, who had reached the same conclusions in denying Bayer's motion to remand in a similar case involving the same medical device. See McLaughlin v. Bayer Essure, Inc., No. 14-7315, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122280, 2018 WL 3535142 (E.D. Pa. July 23, 2018); accord Barone v. Bausch & Lomb, Inc., 372 F. Supp. 3d 141, 2019 WL 1123254, at *5-*12 (W.D.N.Y. 2019) (concluding that there was no federal subject-matter [*5]  jurisdiction over state common law claims involving an allegedly defective medical device, where liability was premised on violations of the same federal regulatory and statutory provisions in this case, because the federal issues that were raised were not "substantial" and conferring federal jurisdiction would upset the federal-state balance). This Court likewise agrees with the sound reasoning of Judge Padova.

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135663 *; 2019 WL 3753140

BRENDA I. VAZQUEZ, CHRISTINE V. FARNSTROM, VERONICA GARCIA, IRAIS J. HERNANDEZ, DEVRI V. HOWARD, MISTY D. HUNTER, MICHELLE J. JUDD, NATASHA M. RITCH, CLAUDIA GARNICA SERRATOS, and SHANNON CARIE, Plaintiffs, v. BAYER CORPORATION, BAYER U.S. LLC, BAYER HEALTHCARE LLC, BAYER ESSURE INC., BAYER HEALTHCARE PHARMACEUTICALS INC., BAYER AG, BAYER PHARMA AG, CONCEPTUS SAS, and BAYER S.A., Defendants.

Prior History: Vazquez v. Bayer Corp., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22924 (W.D. Pa., Feb. 11, 2019)

CORE TERMS

federal law, courts, federal jurisdiction, state-law, federal regulation, medical device, preemption, cause of action, violations