Eye drop makers remove class action alleging product waste to federal court

By Sam Knef | Jun 7, 2018

ST. LOUIS – Manufacturers of glaucoma treatment prescription eye drops recently removed a proposed class action filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division. 

Lead plaintiffs Christine Green and Jordan Pitler claim defendants have violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by selling the eye drops in containers that dispense drops that are larger than medically necessary, resulting in alleged waste of a portion of each drop.

The defendants – Alcon Laboratories, Alcon Research and Allergan Inc. – state in their May 25 removal notice that the District Court has jurisdiction over the litigation under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) which holds that federal court is appropriate when class members number at least 100 individuals, citizenship of at least one class member is different from any defendant and when the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million.

None of the defendant companies are incorporated in Missouri, the notice states.

Allergan products named in the suit are Lumigan, Alphagan, Alphagan P, Combigan and Betagan.

Alcon products named in the complaint include Travatan, Travatan Z, Azopt, Betoptic, Betoptic S, Simbrinza and Iopidine.

St. Louis attorneys Richard Cornfeld of Law Office of Richard S. Cornfeld and John Simon and Kevin Carnie Jr. of the Simon Law Firm represent Green, Pitler and a proposed class of "all persons and entities who paid all or part of the purchase price of prescription eye drops manufactured and sold by Alcon in multi-dose dispensers and purchased within the state of Missouri within the period of the applicable statute of limitations prior to the filing of this lawsuit and up to the date of certification.”

They allege that the amount of their loss can be measured by the amounts they paid that exceeded a drop of 16 microliters. They further allege that commercial eye droppers typically deliver between 25.1 and 56.4 microliters, with an average drop volume of 39, "indicating a purported 'loss' of more than half of each drop," the notice states.

Allergan is represented by attorneys James Muehlberger, Lori McGroder and Douglas Maddock Jr. at Shook, Hardy & Bacon in Kansas City. Alcon is represented by attorneys at Greenberg Traurig in Chicago and Atlanta. 

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