Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re C.R. Bard, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division

December 4, 2017

IN RE C.R. BARD, INC., PELVIC REPAIR SYSTEM PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION
v.
Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. Civil Action No. 2:17-cv-04133 THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO Morrison

          ORDER

          JOSEPH R. GOODWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the court is the Motion to Dismiss the Complaint, filed by the defendant Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. (“BBGA”) on October 30, 2017 (“Motion to Dismiss”). [ECF No. 22]. On November 13, 2017, the plaintiff Danna Morrison filed a Brief in response, opposing the Motion (“Response”). [ECF No. 27]. BBGA filed a Reply on November 20, 2017 (“Reply”). [ECF No. 29]. The matter is ripe for adjudication. Also before the court is the Joint Motion for Expedited Consideration of the Motion to Dismiss. [ECF No. 28]. The Joint Motion for Expedited Consideration is GRANTED and, for the reasons stated below, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The plaintiff in this case previously instituted a civil action against Covidien, C.R. Bard, and other related companies concerning the use of transvaginal surgical mesh to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence (hereinafter, the “MDL case”). Compl. ¶ 5. That case resided in one of the seven MDLs assigned to me by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. See Morrison v. C.R. Bard, Inc. et al., 2:11-cv-00960 (S.D. W.Va. 2011); Transfer Order [ECF No. 18]. The plaintiff retained the services of BBGA to represent her interests in the MDL case. Compl. ¶ 7. On November 16, 2016, I granted the parties' joint motion to dismiss, which represented that the parties compromised and settled all claims, and dismissed the MDL case with prejudice. At the time, the plaintiff was a debtor in an active bankruptcy case. In re Morrison, No. 1:11-bk-11426-NWW (Bankr.E.D.Tenn. 2011); Memo. in Supp. Mot. to Dismiss 4-5, Ex. A.[1]

         The instant case arises from the plaintiff's claim that BBGA made certain false representations in an attempt to coerce her into accepting the settlement of her claims in the MDL case. Compl. ¶ 12. Based on these misrepresentations, the plaintiff states that she accepted the proposed settlement for substantially less than she would have agreed to settle voluntarily. Compl. ¶13. Seeking relief, the plaintiff filed her original complaint in Tennessee on May 17, 2017, advancing five counts: (I) professional negligence; (II) negligent misrepresentations; (III) breach of contract; (IV) breach of common law duty of good faith and fair dealing; and (V) breach of fiduciary obligations. Compl. ¶¶ 15-21. On October 6, 2017, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the case here. See Transfer Order [ECF No. 18].

         BBGA now moves to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (b)(6), arguing that plaintiff lacks standing and, in the alternative, that she failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The United States Constitution limits the jurisdiction of federal courts to “Cases” and “Controversies.” U.S. Const. art. III, §2. The doctrine of standing gives this limitation meaning, requiring a plaintiff to demonstrate: “(1) an injury in fact; (2) a sufficient causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of; and (3) a likelihood that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision.” Wikimedia Foundation v. National Security Agency, 857 F.3d 193, 207 (4th Cir. 2017) (citing Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, 134 S.Ct. 2334, 2341 (2014)).

         On the other hand, a motion to dismiss filed under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint or pleading. Giarratano v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008). A pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This standard “does not require ‘detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         To survive a motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). To achieve facial plausibility, the plaintiff must plead facts allowing the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable, moving the claim beyond the realm of mere possibility. Id. Mere “labels and conclusions” or “formulaic recitation[s] of the elements of a cause of action” are insufficient. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         III. DISCUSSION

         BBGA's motion to dismiss focuses primarily on the causal connection factor of the standing doctrine. In order to show a causal connection, a plaintiff must establish that his injury is “fairly . . . trace[able] to the challenged action of the defendant, and not . . . th[e] result [of] the independent action of some third party not before the court.” Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992) (quoting Simon v. E. Ky. Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26, 41-42 (1976)).

         As noted above, the crux of the plaintiff's complaint is that but-for the alleged misconduct of BBGA, she would not have agreed to the proposed settlement of her claims in the MDL case. As a result, the plaintiff alleges that she suffered harm because she believes her claims settled for “substantially less” than she would have agreed to settle voluntarily. Compl. ¶ 15. In moving to dismiss, BBGA argues that the plaintiff lacks standing because she did not have the authority to accept or reject the proposed settlement agreement in the MDL case. At the pertinent time, BBGA states, the plaintiff was a debtor in an active bankruptcy case. According to BBGA, the Trustee representing the interests of the plaintiff's bankruptcy estate had the sole authority to pursue settlement or a trial of the plaintiff's underlying claims in the MDL case. Because the Trustee authorized the settlement in the MDL case, only the Trustee - a third party not before the court - could have caused the plaintiff's alleged injury in this case. As a result, BBGA asserts that the plaintiff lacks standing in this case because she cannot establish a causal connection between her injury and the challenged conduct of BBGA.

         A. Relevant ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.