Judge Eric Vitaliano

Plaintiffs Kiefer and Lane, New York residents, brought products liability suits asserting Abbot Laboratories’ liability for breast cancer and other injuries stemming from their in utero exposure to prescription medication diethylstilbestrol (DES). Each plaintiff’s doctor is in New York, as were health care providers prescribing—and pharmacies providing—DES to their mothers. Despite settlements, plaintiffs moved to transfer venue to the District of Massachusetts so as to join Fecho v. Eli Lilly & Co., a consolidated action by 53 litigants alleging breast cancer’s development after in utero exposure to DES. The court denied transfer. The “critical events” in plaintiffs’ actions occurred in New York. Also, numerous fact witnesses were in New York—beyond the subpoena power of the District of Massachusetts. In finding venue transfer inappropriate the court found plaintiffs’ forum choice entitled to little deference. Further absent a large number of Massachusetts based fact witnesses, plaintiffs could not overcome the preference for adjudicating their lawsuits in New York. Additionally, neither judicial economy nor the interests of justice supported transfer. Far more likely, a transfer would more strenuously tax judicial and party resources.