JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – The Missouri Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a decision that refused to allow 34 defendant pharmaceutical companies to transfer trials on their hormone therapy drugs out of state.
In a 6-0 ruling, the high court found that the defendants failed to show that other courts are available to the plaintiffs and that trying the cases in Missouri would be oppressive or would impose an undue burden on the courts.
The Supreme Court upheld St. Louis City Circuit Judge Thomas Grady’s decision. Judge Grady rejected the drugmakers’ motions to dismiss.
The lawsuits stem from hormone-therapy drugs the defendants developed and marketed by 34 pharmaceutical companies, including Wyeth.
The plaintiffs are largely the women who used the therapy, and their husbands.
“The defendant companies argue that if these suits are permitted to proceed because the companies do some business in Missouri, it would open Pandora’s Box, allowing any plaintiff to sue any company that does business in Missouri to the detriment of Missouri’s court system and its jurors,” Judge Patricia Breckenridge wrote.
“Plaintiffs argue that the court’s jurisdiction over their suits is not oppressive to the pharmaceutical companies and does not impose an undue burden on the court and, therefore, Missouri is not an inconvenient forum. This Court agrees that the companies have not shown that the trial court abused its discretion in overruling their motions to dismiss on grounds of forum non conveniens.”