Back in November 2008, we wrote that a New York state appeals court had affirmed lower court dismissals of three product liability actions against Pfizer by Michigan residents over injuries they allegedly suffered from taking the anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor. We noted then that the Michigan plaintiffs had hoped to sidestep their home state’s defense-friendly tort laws in drug cases by bringing the cases in New York, where Pfizer is headquartered. Neither the trial judge nor the appellate court bought the plaintiffs’ jurisdiction arguments in those cases, and now the pattern has repeated itself in a consolidated Lipitor product liability case brought by a Georgia man and 16 other out-of-state plaintiffs before the same New York courts.
On Tuesday, New York state’s first appellate department affirmed a June 2008 ruling by trial Judge Martin Shulman dismissing a case against Pfizer brought by Georgia resident Charles Wilson, who claimed to have suffered peripheral neuropathy, memory loss, disorientation and depression from taking Lipitor in 2002 and 2003. The appellate court, considering an appeal of Wilson’s case consolidated with 16 others, agreed with Shulman’s ruling on grounds of forum non conveniens.
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