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Arnold & Porter Shuts Down Plavix Product Liability Litigation on Behalf of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi

August 30, 2018

Arnold & Porter's Product Liability team obtained a final summary judgment victory on behalf of pharmaceutical companies Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (Bristol-Myers Squibb) and Sanofi-Aventis (Sanofi) to end personal injury product liability litigation regarding their blood thinner drug Plavix. The decision brings to a close 12 years of litigation, without a single trial.

It also capped a string of rulings for Defendants that gradually chipped away at the litigation, including the grant of summary judgment motions on learned intermediary grounds in individual cases pending in an MDL in New Jersey district court and in California state court. In addition, the litigation spurred the US Supreme Court's review of critical specific jurisdiction issues and resulted in the Court's landmark decision in BMS v. Superior Court of California, which is helping put an end to unchecked plaintiff forum shopping.

Following these rulings, plaintiffs initially planned to move forward with a small number of cases in New York. However, the New York County Supreme Court granted Arnold & Porter's motion to preclude expert testimony and for summary judgment, dismissing all of the remaining cases. The court ruled that plaintiffs had been relying on the same "dynamic duo" of generic expert witnesses throughout the litigation, one of whom offered conclusory and unsupported opinions that were "grounded on a consensus of one." Along with excluding their opinions in their entirety, the court found that plaintiffs' failure to warn and design defect opinions were federally preempted.

The Arnold & Porter team included Product Liability Litigation co-chair Anand Agneshwar, partners Dan Pariser and Paige Sharpe, and Litigation associates Jocelyn Wiesner, Jessica Caterina, Josh Fordin, and Ryan Gramacy.

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