Multi-State Class Actions After the Supreme Court’s Decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court
On June 19th, the Supreme Court issued a decision that could have important consequences for multi-state class actions. In Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, the Court addressed the question whether a California state court could exercise personal jurisdiction over the claims of nonresident plaintiffs who had joined a group of California plaintiffs in suing Bristol-Myers Squibb (“BMS”) for alleged adverse health effects from its drug, Plavix. As a matter of 14th Amendment due process, the Court held that the nonresidents’ claims should have been dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Initially, the nonresident plaintiffs succeeded in the state courts in arguing that the courts could exercise general jurisdiction over BMS, but the California Court of Appeal reversed itself after SCOTUS issued its 2014 decision in Daimler Ag v. Bauman (holding that a court could not assert general jurisdiction over a non-resident corporate defendant solely because it engaged “in a substantial, continuous and systematic course of business”