Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Even in Minnesota, You Can't Do That

We're involved in HT litigation, so we can't comment much, but readers will want to look at Rick v. Wyeth, Inc., ___ F.3d ___, Nos. 3354, et al., slip op. (8th Cir. Oct. 25, 2011).  Trying to take advantage of Minnesota's notoriously long statute of limitations, the plaintiffs, who had originally filed in their home state (New York), filed diversity actions in the District of Minnesota, as soon as the defendant moved for summary judgment on the original, state court action based on their home state's statute of limitations.  The defendant won the summary judgment motion in the plaintiffs' home state.  In Minnesota federal court, the plaintiff argued that the home state ruling was "procedural" and didn't require dismissal.  The district court agreed with the defendant and held that the home state ruling required dismissal on grounds of res judicata.

Well, now the Eighth Circuit has affirmed, holding that, where the defendant has obtained a final order of dismissal of a plaintiff's original action under the plaintiff's home state statute of limitations, that order also requires dismissal of any subsequent action filed in Minnesota in an attempt to take advantage of the longer statute of limitations.  Rick, slip op. at 8-9.

The Rick ruling should put an end to at least one form of shennanigans involving the Minnesota statute of limitations (now changed by statute, by the way, but only prospectively) no matter what product is involved.

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