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Class Actions, Judicial Reform, Legal Action

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear AEF Case to Limit State Court Jurisdiction over Defendants

AEF has been active in fighting to uphold the integrity of the legal system and has consistently opposed the forum shopping practices of the plaintiffs’ bar, which often results in excessive judgments or forced settlements which are passed on to the general public. Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court involves an appeal by AEF and its partner, Washington Legal Foundation, from what AEF feels is a misguided California Supreme Court decision which extends California jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant in violation of a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision (Daimler Ag v. Bauman).

The general rule is that a state court does not have jurisdiction unless the plaintiff or defendant is a resident (or if a business, is incorporated or has its principle place of business there), or if the claim has a substantial connection with the state. This case involves a class action against the defendant involving the drug, Plavix, which it manufactures. Only 86 of the 661 unrelated plaintiffs reside in California, but the California Supreme Court has given the 575 non-resident plaintiffs standing to sue on the questionable theory that their claim is similar to the claim of the California residents. The plaintiffs’ attorney would like to litigate in California because of its reputation as a plaintiff friendly state as well as the additional benefits of a larger class of plaintiffs (and a greater potential judgment). It is our belief that the U.S. Supreme Court will agree that the California Supreme Court has exceeded its jurisdiction.