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Hogan Lovells achieves Precedent-Setting Product Liability Victory on behalf of Bristol-Myers Squibb in U.S. Supreme Court

20 June 2017

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Maria Woehr

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+1 212 918 6154

WASHINGTON, D.C., 20 June 2017 – Hogan Lovells successfully argued and won a landmark Supreme Court case for global biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb. The case, argued by Hogan Lovells partner Neal Katyal, who previously served as Acting Solicitor General of the United States, will protect both federalism and fairness in future commercial litigation. The decision was the last of Katyal’s seven cases that he argued before the Supreme Court this year (in six separate oral arguments), which far outpaced any other attorney in the nation, including in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office.

The specific case was brought by allegedly injured users of Plavix, a blood-thinning drug. The Supreme Court’s decision limits States’ ability to hear mass-tort, product-liability cases brought by plaintiffs that did not purchase or use the product in the State. In particular, the Supreme Court ruled in Bristol-Myers Squib v. Superior Court that product-liability claims brought by out-of-state plaintiffs against Bristol-Myers Squibb in California could not proceed because the plaintiffs that claimed to have suffered injuries were not prescribed and did not take Plavix in the State. The 8-1 decision held that despite Bristol-Myers’ extensive contacts with California, the state courts have did not have specific personal jurisdiction over the non-residents’ claims.

“Bristol-Myers Squib and Sanofi are very pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court. We are hopeful that this decision will provide litigants more certainty regarding where lawsuits can be heard,” said Katyal. “At its core, this decision was about basic principles of federalism and fairness in our legal system, and our legal team was deeply proud to be part of the process.” Mr. Katyal and his team successfully urged the Supreme Court to grant certiorari in the case last year, and argued the case to its conclusion.

The Hogan Lovells team also included Jessica Ellsworth, Fred Liu, Sean Marotta, Mitchell Reich, and Sara Solow.

In the next week, Katyal will be announcing a personal jurisdiction task force team devoted to ensuring that the contours of the Supreme Court decision will be enforced appropriately throughout the nation.

About Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells is a leading global legal practice providing business-oriented legal advice and high-quality service across its exceptional breadth of practices to clients around the world.

“Hogan Lovells” or the “firm” is an international legal practice that includes Hogan Lovells US LLP and Hogan Lovells International LLP. For more information, see www.hoganlovells.com.

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