Two Lawsuits in One as a Tool for Forum Shopping: Fradulent Misjoinder In Product Liability Cases.
Product liability cases differ from other types of tort cases in a number of ways. One particular difference that does not garner as much attention as some others relates to the nature of product liability defendants. Frequently, a product manufacturer is a large, multi-national company with little connection to a plaintiff’s home state or the state where an alleged injury occurred. This fact permits plaintiffs some flexibility in forum selection that does not exist in many other tort cases. A plaintiff who prefers a federal court forum can virtually always sue the manufacturer in federal court because generally she is not a citizen of the same state as the manufacturer. This article focuses on the situation where a plaintiff prefers a state court forum. Assuming that the plaintiff’s damages exceed $75,000, she can only guarantee herself a state court forum if she sues a defendant who is a citizen of the same state she is (or is a citizen of the state where she files suit). Sometimes, an obvious non-diverse defendant exists. For instance, the seller, installer or servicer of the allegedly defective product might potentially be liable under the relevant substantive law, and those entities are frequently local. Other times, though, the situation demands more creativity. Recurrently in this situation, plaintiffs sue defendants who have a connection to their injury but not necessarily to the product. Commonly, these defendants are medical providers who allegedly committed malpractice on the plaintiff after the allegedly defective product injured her.
Read the full article on page 7 of the of the Fall 2015 ABA/TIPS Newsletter Digest by clicking link http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/uncategorized/tips/products/ProductsFall2015.authcheckdam.pdf. By: Ryan N. Clark and Kaya Grace Porter
Ryan N. Clark focuses his practice on the defense of automobile manufacturers in product liability claims pending in Tennessee and throughout the United States. He has also defended manufacturers of home appliances, tires and consumer products. In addition to his product liability practice, Mr. Clark has experience defending a variety of other cases including workplace accidents and commercial matters.