Get Me Out of Here! Teva Files to Get Opioid Suit Moved to Federal Court

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. and subsidiary Cephalon Inc. want to get out of state court in Pennsylvania and into federal court. The drug manufacturer filed papers in federal court March 5 to get the City of New Castle, Pa.’s lawsuit against it moved from the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County to federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Judge Harvey Bartle IV of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania signed off on the removal.

Along with Teva, the City of New Castle is suing Allergan PLC, Endo Health Solutions Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma LP for allegedly causing and perpetuating the opioid prescription drug abuse epidemic by aggressively marketing prescription opioids and misrepresenting their safety.

In its papers, Teva said all the factors for removing a case from state to federal court are met: (1) the amount in controversy is over $5 million; (2) there are more than 100 members of the proposed class suing; and (3) the class members are from different states from the drug company defendants.

In December 2017, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation created a multidistrict litigation (MDL) that would include the New Castle action along with multiple other opioid-related suits pending against drugmakers.

Teva’s removal of the suit follows a similar move by drug distributor McKesson Corp. to transfer the Cherokee Nation’s case against it Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen, CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to a consolidated proceeding in Ohio state court.

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