A federal judge in Texas this week tossed 76 product liability lawsuits brought against JNJ Ethicon subsidiary over its Gynecare Prolift pelvic floor repair system, ruling that his court has no jurisdiction over the out-of-state plaintiffs.
Judge Kenneth Hoyt of the U.S. District Court for Southern Texas ruled that all but 1 of the plaintiffs in the batch of suits, originally filed in a Texas state court, had no standing in Texas.
"On the record before the court, Texas is simply not a forum in which it would be permissible to subject the defendants to general jurisdiction. The defendants’ operations in Texas are not so substantial and of such nature as to render them at home in the state. Because the out-of-state plaintiffs cannot meet their burden of establishing personal jurisdiction over these New Jersey defendants, dismissal of their claims is proper," Hoyt wrote.
"The exercise of general jurisdiction over the defendants turns on the sufficiency of their affiliations with Texas. Here, neither defendant’s affiliations with Texas are insufficient because neither is incorporated in Texas nor does either defendant maintain its principal corporate office there. There is no dispute that the defendants are New Jersey corporations who are physically headquartered in New Jersey. The defendants are therefore ‘at home’ in New Jersey and not in Texas," he wrote.
Only plaintiff and Texas resident Judy Locke’s suit survived the ruling, according to court documents.