United States District Court, D. Arizona
G. Campbell United States District Judge
case was originally filed in Missouri state court. Defendants
removed the case to the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Missouri, and it was transferred to this
Court to become part of this MDL proceeding. Defendants have
filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
See Docs. 9, 10 in Hardwick v. C.R. Bard,
Inc., No. 2:16-cv-02442-PHX-DGC (E.D. Mo. July 8,
2016). Plaintiffs have responded (E.D. Mo. Doc.
21) and filed a motion to remand (Doc. 3316). No party has
requested oral argument. For the following reasons, the Court
will grant Defendants' motion to dismiss and deny
Plaintiffs' motion to remand.
allegations of Plaintiffs' complaint are taken as true
for purposes of this motion. Plaintiffs are eight unrelated
persons from states other than Missouri. They are citizens of
West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Louisiana,
California, and Georgia. E.D. Mo. Doc. 1-1, ¶¶ 167,
169, 171, 173, 175, 177, 181. Plaintiff Rudolph Iglewski is a
citizen of Arizona. Id., ¶ 179.
C.R. Bard, Inc. is a Delaware corporation with its principal
place of business in New Jersey. Id., ¶ 16.
Defendant Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. (“BPV”)
is a wholly-owned subsidiary of C.R. Bard, Inc., with its
principal place of business in Arizona. Id., ¶
17. Defendants manufacture a line of Inferior Vena Cava
(“IVC”) filters designed to capture blood clots
that travel from lower portions of the body to the heart and
lungs. Id., ¶¶ 1-2, 25-27.
7, 2016, Plaintiffs filed this action against Defendants C.R.
Bard, Inc. and BPV (collectively “Bard”) in the
Circuit Court for the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, St.
Louis City, Missouri. See Id. at 1. Plaintiffs
allege, as do the plaintiffs in this MDL, that they each
received a Bard IVC filter and have suffered injury as a
“direct and proximate result of Defendants'
negligence and wrongful conduct, and the unreasonably
dangerous and defective characteristics of Bard IVC
Filters.” E.D. Mo. Doc. 1-1, ¶ 183.
8, 2016, Bard removed this case to federal court in the
Eastern District of Missouri on the basis of diversity
jurisdiction, and requested transfer to this MDL.
See E.D. Mo. Doc. 1. Bard also moved to dismiss
Plaintiffs' action for lack of personal jurisdiction.
See E.D. Mo. Docs. 9-10. On September 6, 2016,
Plaintiff filed a motion to remand the case to Missouri state
court. See Doc. 3316.
case brought in state court may be removed to federal court
in the district where the action is pending if the federal
district court would have had original jurisdiction,
including diversity jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §§
1332, 1441. Removal based on diversity jurisdiction is not
proper if complete diversity of citizenship is lacking, but
“[c]ourts have long recognized fraudulent joinder as an
exception to the complete diversity rule.” In re
Prempro Prods. Liab. Litig., 591 F.3d 613, 620 (8th Cir.
2010).The removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441,
is to be strictly construed against removal. See Syngenta
Crop Protection, Inc. v. Henson, 537 U.S. 28, 32 (2002);
Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S.
100, 108-09 (1941). A defendant seeking to remove a case to
federal court carries the burden of establishing diversity
jurisdiction, and “[a]ll doubts about federal
jurisdiction should be resolved in favor of remand to state
court.” In re Preempro, 591 F.3d at 620
(citation omitted); see 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
their notice of removal, Defendants asserted that the
diversity-destroying Plaintiff, Rudolph Iglewski of Arizona,
was fraudulently joined because his claims have no reasonable
basis in Missouri. E.D. Mo. Doc. 1 at 10-11. In their motion
to dismiss, Defendants argue that this Court lacks personal
jurisdiction over Defendants because no Plaintiff asserts
sufficient facts to establish such personal jurisdiction in
any Missouri court. E.D. Mo. Docs 9-10; Doc. 3397 at 3-8. In
their response and motion to remand, Plaintiffs argue that
the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because complete
diversity is lacking (due to the Arizona citizenship of both
Iglewski and BPV), Defendants therefore improperly removed
this case to federal court, and, in ruling on the various
motions, the Court must decide subject matter jurisdiction
before addressing personal jurisdiction, which will result in
immediate remand. E.D. Mo. Doc. 21; Doc. 3316. Plaintiffs
also argue that they are not fraudulently joined because all
Plaintiffs allege injuries arising from the same product and
common facts (Doc. 3316-1 at 4-10), and “the obvious
lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction precludes
consideration of the [personal jurisdiction] issues raised in
Defendants' motion to dismiss” (E.D. Mo. Doc. 21 at
4; see also Doc. 3316-1 at 10-11). The Court will
first determine whether it must decide subject matter
jurisdiction before personal jurisdiction.
Priority of Jurisdictional Arguments.
to resolve cases on the merits requires both authority over
the category of claim in suit (subject matter jurisdiction)
and authority over the parties (personal jurisdiction), so
that the court's decision will bind them.”
Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 577
(1999). “[I]n cases removed from state court to federal
court, as in cases originating in federal court, there is no
unyielding jurisdictional hierarchy.” Id. at
578. “[I]n most instances subject-matter jurisdiction
will involve no arduous inquiry. In such cases, both
expedition and sensitivity to state courts' coequal
stature should impel the federal court to dispose of that
issue first.” Id. at 587-88 (citations
omitted). But where “a district court has before it a
straightforward personal jurisdiction issue presenting no
complex question of state law, and the alleged defect in
subject matter jurisdiction raises a difficult and novel
question, the court does not abuse its discretion by turning
directly to personal jurisdiction.” Id. at
588; see also Crawford v. F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd.,
267 F.3d 760, 764 (8th Cir. 2001) (“certain threshold
issues, such as personal jurisdiction, may be taken up
without a finding of subject-matter jurisdiction, provided
that the threshold issue is simple when compared with the
issue of subject-matter jurisdiction.”).
argue that subject matter jurisdiction analysis in this case
is simple because complete diversity is lacking. Doc. 3316-1
at 2. They ask the Court to remand the case for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction and leave the ...