St. Louis Record

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Court grants transfer of case over alleged OptiMark injuries to New Jersey


By Charmaine Little | Dec 21, 2018

ST. LOUIS – A federal court has denied two defendants' motions to dismiss a strict product liability and negligence suit filed against them by a New Jersey man.

On Dec. 12, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Judge Charles A. Shaw denied Guerbet LLC's motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction and improper venue and denied Liebel-Flarsheim Co. LLC'S motion to dismiss over improper venue. However, Shaw did grant Liebel-Flarsheim's alternative motion to transfer the venue to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Plaintiff John M. Carney claimed the companies “manufactured, tested, marketed, advertised, and sold a linear gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA) known as OptiMark,” according to the ruling.

Carney alleged he was injected OptiMark by his physicians before getting an MRI. He alleged the injection made him retain gadolinium in his body and brain, causing him to suffer injuries like fibrosis in his skin, organs and bones.

He filed the lawsuit in Missouri, while Gubert does business primarily in Indiana, and Liebel-Flarsheim is based in Missouri.

Carney said the current court has jurisdiction over Guerbet since Guerbet contracted with other defendants Mallinckrodt Inc. and Mallinckrodt LLC and bought their St. Louis-based business that he alleged produced OptiMark. Guerbet said it did not buy any business from Mallinckrodt.

"Guerbet's only alleged contacts with the state of Missouri involve designing, licensing, manufacturing, distributing, selling or marketing OptiMark, which the Supreme Court of the United States has held not to be enough to establish specific personal jurisdiction over a non-resident pharmaceutical company," the rulings states.

As for Liebel-Flarsheim's motion to dismiss for lack of proper venue, the court ruled since Liebel-Flarsheim missed its time frame to file a motion to dismiss, the court has the right to exercise personal jurisdiction over Liebel-Flarsheim.

The court did grant the alternative amid Liebel-Flarsheim's argument that Carney’s injury actually happened in New Jersey and that producing the witnesses, expert opinions and more would be more costly if the case was heard in Missouri. The court agreed and granted the alternative motion to transfer to the New Jersey court.

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