Civil Action No. 02-0144, Section "A"(5)
March 25, 2000
Before the Court are a Motion to Remand (Rec. Doc. 15) filed by plaintiffs Peggy Martinez and Tefferny Perez and Intervenors Erilda Alfonso, et al., and a Motion of AHP Defendants for Stay of Proceedings Pending Transfer to MDL (Rec. Doc. 14). Plaintiffs and Intervenors oppose the motion to stay and defendants oppose the motion to remand. The motions, which were set for hearing on March 27, 2002, are before the Court on the briefs without oral argument.
The instant lawsuit was brought by plaintiffs/intervenors who claim to have opted-out of the nationwide settlement agreement entered in the class action lawsuit brought by users of the diet drugs Pondimin, Redux, and Phentermine. The instant lawsuit is one of many, brought in Louisiana and elsewhere, in which alleged opt-out plaintiffs are seeking damages outside of the class settlement.
Other judges of this Court have considered motions to remand and to stay that raise virtually identical arguments to those raised in this case. In his Order and Reasons of March 7, 2002, issued in Civil Action Number 02-145, Rosalie Bergeron, et al. v. American Home Products Corp., et al., Judge Fallon concluded that the MDL transferee court was the more appropriate forum for deciding the issues raised, and therefore, stayed the matter before him. Likewise, Judge Beer adopted Judge Fallon's March 7, 2002, Order and Reasons when called upon to decide similar motions to remand and to stay that were pending before him. See Franz v. American Home Prods., et al., Civil Action Number 02-85, Section M.
Like Judge Beer, this Court is in complete agreement with Judge Fallon's Order and Reasons of March 7, 2002, and hereby adopts them as its own. Although there seems to be no dispute that the Martinez and Perez did in fact opt out of the settlement, in the interest of judicial economy, the issues of fraudulent joinder that this Court would be forced to resolve in order to address plaintiffs' motion should be decided by the transferee Court which has spent years acquiring expertise in the issues pertaining to the litigation arising out of the diet drugs involved in this lawsuit.
The Motion of AEP Defendants for Stay of Proceedings Pending Transfer to MDL (Rec. Doc. 14) should be and is hereby GRANTED. This matter is STAYED pending further action of the MDL transferee court.