March 5, 2021

Volume XI, Number 64

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Supreme Court Declines to Resolve Whether Its Bristol-Myers Squibb Decision Applies to Class Actions

The Supreme Court recently declined to review the Seventh Circuit’s ruling in Mussat v. IQVIA, Inc., 953 F.3d 441 (7th Cir. 2020), which found that the logic of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, 582 US  (2017) did not apply to class actions and therefore that a federal court in Illinois somehow had specific personal jurisdiction over the individual claims of unnamed class members who had no connection whatsoever to that forum state.

In Bristol-Myers, the Supreme Court held that federal courts do not have specific personal jurisdiction over the nonresidents’ claims merely because resident plaintiffs “allegedly sustained the same injuries as did the nonresidents.” The defendant in Mussat argued that the holding in Bristol-Myers (a mass action) should apply with equal force to its case (a class action). As our regular readers know, this argument makes abundant sense but has seen varying levels of success. In Mussat, the Seventh Circuit ultimately held that the “principles announced in Bristol-Myers do not apply to the case of a nationwide class action filed in federal court under a federal statute.” It did not, however, address the effects of Rule 82 and the Rules Enabling Act, which provide that the parties’ rights and the courts’ jurisdiction are not changed—much less enlarged—simply because a plaintiff purports to invoke a particular rule of procedure. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 82 (“These rules do not extend or limit the jurisdiction of the district courts or the venue of actions in those courts.”); 28 U.S.C. § 2072(b) (“Such rules shall not abridge, enlarge or modify any substantive right.”).

Of course, a denial of certiorari is not the same as a decision on the merits. It may well be, then, that the Supreme Court will take this issue up in the future—perhaps after more circuit courts have weighed in. Regardless, TCPA defendants should continue to look closely at whether courts have jurisdiction in a given case and should raise jurisdictional defects when appropriate.

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© 2020 Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 15
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About this Author

Michael Daly, Drinker Biddle Law Firm, Philadelphia, Litigation and Retail Attorney
Partner

Michael P. Daly defends class actions and other complex litigation matters, handles appeals in state and federal courts across the country, and counsels clients on maximizing the defensibility of their marketing and enforceability of their contracts. A recognized authority on class action and consumer protection litigation, he often speaks, comments, and writes on recent decisions and developments in the class action arena. He is also a founder of the firm’s TCPA Team; the senior editor of the TCPA Blog, which provides important information and insight...

215-988-2604
Deanna J. Hayes Litigation Attorney Drinker Biddle
Associate

Deanna J. Hayes assists in various stages of legal proceedings and trial preparation, including conducting research, writing motions, and drafting other memoranda. Before joining the firm, Deanna was a judicial intern for the Hon. Michael Erdos, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division.

In law school, Deanna was selected to serve as a Littleton Fellow for Penn Law’s Legal Practice Skills curriculum. As a Littleton Fellow, Deanna taught oral communication and legal writing skills to a small group of first-year law students. Deanna was also a member of...

(215) 988-2566
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