United States District Court, D. North Dakota, Eastern Division
RACHEL BEARD, TINA BEARD, RAMONA LAWSON, individually and as Next friend of S.L., a minor, NATASHA RIGBY, individually and as next friend of A.M., a minor, MICHELLE ROLF, and TRACY LATRAILLE, Plaintiffs,
SMITHKLINE BEECHAM CORPORATION d/b/a GLAXOSMITHKLINE and GLAXOSMITHKLINE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Defendant GlaxoSmithKline
LLC’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal
Jurisdiction or Motion to Sever and Transfer Venue (ECF No.
8). This matter is fully briefed and ready for disposition.
are the mothers and their children, who allege that the
mothers ingested Paxil during their pregnancies and the
children suffered birth defects as a result. See
Petition, ECF No. 4, passim. Plaintiffs allege that
Defendants SmithKline Beecham Corporation d/b/a
GlaxoSmithKline is a Pennsylvania corporation, and that
GlaxoSmithKline LLC is a Delaware limited liability company.
(Petition at 1). Defendants clarify that the Petition
incorrectly names “SmithKline Beecham Corporation d/b/a
GlaxoSmithKline” and “GlaxoSmithKline LLC”
as separate defendants. (ECF No. 9 at 2). Defendants states
that on October 27, 2009, SmithKline Beecham Corporation
d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline, a Pennsylvania corporation, converted
to GlaxoSmithKline LLC, a limited liability company whose
sole member is a Delaware corporation. (ECF No. 9 at 2).
Defendant GlaxoSmithKline LLC, formerly SmithKline Beecham
Corporation d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”), thus,
is a citizen of Delaware and it maintains its corporate and
administrative headquarters in Pennsylvania and North
motion before the Court, GSK submits that this Court lacks
personal jurisdiction over GSK, an out-of-state defendant.
GSK requests dismissal of this action or, in the alternative,
severance and transfer of this action to the districts where
the mother Plaintiffs were allegedly prescribed and ingested
Paxil during their pregnancies.
basis for personal jurisdiction, the Petition alleges that
“GSK transacts substantial and continuous business in
Missouri, ” “received substantial revenues from
the State of Missouri[, ] and/or distributed products in the
State of Missouri.” (Petition, ¶¶7-8). The
Petition recites the elements of the Missouri long-arm
statute and committed one or more acts enumerated in the
statute. (Petition, ¶7). Finally, Plaintiffs allege GSK
marketed, promoted and sold Paxil throughout the United
States, including in the City of St. Louis, Missouri.
minimum contacts necessary for due process may be the basis
for either “general” or “specific”
jurisdiction. Dairy Farmers of Am., Inc. v. Bassett &
Walker Int'l, Inc., 702 F.3d 472, 475 (8th Cir.
2012); Johnson v. Arden, 614 F.3d 785, 794 (8th Cir.
2010). A court obtains general jurisdiction against a
defendant who has “continuous and systematic”
contacts with the forum state, even if the injuries at issue
in the lawsuit did not arise out of the defendant's
activities directed at the forum. Id. Specific
jurisdiction over a defendant, on the other hand, is
exercised when a state asserts personal jurisdiction over a
nonresident defendant that has purposefully availed itself of
the privilege of conducting business in the forum in a suit
arising out of or related to the defendant's contacts
with the forum. See Pangaea, Inc. v. Flying Burrito
LLC, 647 F.3d 741, 745-46 (8th Cir. 2001);
Johnson, 614 F.3d at 794-95. It is essential in each
case that there be some act by which the defendant
purposefully avails itself of the privilege of conducting
activities within the forum state, thus invoking the benefits
and protections of its laws. Dairy Farmers, 702 F.3d
at 477; see also Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235,
argue that GSK consented to jurisdiction by assigning a
registered agent for its business. (ECF No. 12 at 3-4). As
noted by Plaintiffs, the Eighth Circuit held in Knowlton
v. Allied Van Lines, Inc., 900 F.2d 1196 (8th Cir. 1990)
that appointment of an agent for service of process under the
relevant state statute gives consent to the jurisdiction of
state courts for any cause of action, whether or not arising
out of activities within the state. Id. at 1200.
Since that decision, however, some district courts have
questioned that analysis based upon more recent United States
Supreme Court precedent, such as Daimler AG v.
Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746 (2014). In Daimler, the
Supreme Court held that Daimler, a company headquartered in
Germany, could not be sued in California for injuries
allegedly caused by the conduct of its Argentinian subsidiary
when that conduct took place entirely outside of the United
contends that this Court lacks personal jurisdiction over it
under recent United States Supreme Court precedent. (ECF No.
9 at 7). GSK states that a “[a] corporation’s
continuous activity of some sorts within a state … is
not enough to support the demand that the corporation be
amenable to suits unrelated to that activity.” (ECF No.
9 at 7 (citing Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v.
Brown, 131 S.Ct. 2846, 2856 (2001)). GSK notes that
courts in this district have likewise observed that they lack
personal jurisdiction in similar cases involving the
antidepressant Zoloft. (ECF No. 9 at 7 (citing cases)).
response, Plaintiffs argue that, even after Daimler,
the appointment of an agent can establish personal
jurisdiction. (ECF No. 12 at 6-8 (citing cases)). Plaintiffs
contend that GSK consented to general personal jurisdiction
by establishing a corporate agent in Missouri. Id.;
see Perrigo Co. v. Merial Ltd., No. 8:14-CV-403,
2015 WL 1538088, at *7 (D. Neb. Apr. 7, 2015)
(“appointment of an agent for service of process
constitutes consent to jurisdiction, and the Due Process
Clause is satisfied”). Plaintiffs argue that
“[b]ecause of the breadth of the Missouri registration
statutes, as in Knowlton and the numerous
post-Daimler cases that have recognized its
viability, the appointment of a registered agent in Missouri
is sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction over
GSK.” (ECF No. 12 at 8).
Court recognizes the line of older cases that have found that
personal jurisdiction can be based upon having a registered
agent in the forum statue. See Knowlton, 900 F.2d at
1200. This Court, however, agrees with more recent judicial
precedent from the United States Supreme Court and this
district that have determined that more substantial contacts
are required to hale a litigant into the court’s forum.
The extent of Plaintiff’s allegations is that GSK
marketed and sold Paxil in Missouri. These facts are much
less than was alleged in Daimler and, therefore,
personal jurisdiction cannot be found here. Simply marketing
and selling a product in a state does not make the
defendant’s affiliations with the state so
“continuous and systematic as to render them
essentially at home in the forum state.”
Goodyear, 131 S.Ct. at 2851; Barron v. Pfizer,
Inc., No. 4:15-CV-584 CAS (E.D. Mo. filed Oct. 6, 2015);
Clarke v. Pfizer, Inc., No. 4:15-CV-1072 AGF (E.D.
Mo. filed Sept. 8, 2015); Keeley v. Pfizer, Inc.,
No. 4:15-CV-583 ERW (E.D. Mo. filed July 1, 2015); Fidler
v. Pfizer Inc., No. 4:15-CV-582 RWS (E.D. Mo. filed June
25, 2015). Plaintiffs have not alleged that they were sold
Paxil in Missouri or that they ingested Paxil in Missouri. In
fact, Plaintiffs have not alleged any connection between
Missouri and their injuries. Plaintiffs have not alleged any
facts supporting a finding of personal jurisdiction and the
Court finds that such jurisdiction does not exist.