The Foreign Plaintiff Problem

December 15, 2016

Out of state plaintiffs in mass tort cases have long been the source of angst among corporate defendants. Among the reasons for concern is judicial forum shopping and a drain on venue-specific resources. These problems are particularly pronounced in California and other jurisdictions that are well known for having significant numbers of cases brought by out of state plaintiffs.

According to the Civil Justice Association of California, from January 2010 to May 2016, in Los Angeles and San Francisco counties alone, pharmaceutical companies were sued by 25,503 separate plaintiffs in 2,919 cases. Of those plaintiffs, a staggering 89.9% were from out of state. Furthermore, 67% of cases did not involve a California plaintiff at all. Civil Justice Association of California, Out of State Plaintiffs 2 (2016), available at http://cjac.org/what/research/CJAC_Out_of_State_Plaintiffs_Exec_Summary.pdf. A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court finding that state courts have jurisdiction over the claims of out of state residents exacerbates these concerns.

To continue reading Michelle Bufano, Rachel Sherman and Louis Russo's article from the December 5, 2016 edition of Bloomberg BNA's Product Safety & Liability Reporter, please click here.