In the span of one week, the U.S. Supreme Court has accepted two cases involving jurisdictional issues as to where a corporation may be sued. Most recently, the Supreme Court has agreed to determine whether a pharmaceutical company with headquarters in New York may be sued in California by plaintiffs who don’t live there.
The most recent case involves Bristol-Myers Squibb, the maker of the blood-thinning drug Plavix. Plaintiffs in the suit allege that the drug caused bleeding and strokes. Although Plavix is not made or packaged in California, the California Supreme Court ruled that out of state residents could sue the pharmaceutical company in California because the company conducts research, sales and marketing in that state.
Many business groups are concerned with the prospect of being sued in states that have little connection to their products that form the basis of the dispute.