ST. LOUIS - U.S. District Judge Ronnie White has denied a defense motion to reconsider a prior ruling that allowed Risperdal claims made by 72 plaintiffs from 24 states to stay in state court. 

White ruled against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and other defendants on Jan. 3 following their Dec. 1, 2017 motion to reconsider the remanding of the 2017 case to St. Louis City Circuit Court.

In citing federal statute that remand orders to the state court from which a case is removed are not reviewable on appeal or otherwise, White wrote, "Courts within the Eighth Circuit have held that ...a district court lacks jurisdiction to consider orders of remand."

According to case background information, the plaintiffs filed the case on Feb. 27, 2017 and amended it a month later. They allege negligence, fraud, strict product liability, negligent misrepresentation, breach of express warranty and violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act involving the drug Risperdal Consta and/or Invega.

In White's Nov. 29 remand order, he noted that in the plaintiffs’ motion to remand filed last April, they cited similar cases from the Eastern District of Missouri in which the court declined to resolve personal jurisdiction issues prior to addressing the "straightforward" subject matter jurisdiction analysis because on its face, complete diversity was lacking as some Missourians were among plaintiffs named in the complaint.

He held that in the case before him, "there is not complete diversity on the face," and therefore no basis for fraudulent joinder.

"Courts in this district have consistently held that an alleged lack of personal jurisdiction does not establish fraudulent joinder," he wrote.

"This Court agrees that the fraudulent joinder doctrine requires the Court to consider the merits of plaintiffs' claims under state law, and a personal jurisdiction challenge does not go to the merits of the claim," he wrote in citing another ruling from the Eastern District of Missouri.

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