Texas Reglan Tardive Dyskenesia Case Removed to Federal Court

W.L. Meyers | August 7th, 2012 | Posted in Reglan Lawsuit News

A Reglan side effects lawsuit pending in Texas has been removed to federal court after it was determined that the facts of the case meet all requirements of federal diversity jurisdiction. The motion was made at the defendants’ request after the case was denied inclusion in a Reglan mass tort currently pending in Philadelphia.

In the original complaint filed in state court in Texas, the plaintiff sued drug manufacturing defendants Wythe, Pfizer and PLIVA, makers and distributors of Reglan as well as the generic version of the drug, metoclopramide. The plaintiff is also suing her physician and his practices via respondeat superior, asserting that she suffered from a condition known as Reglan tardive dyskenesia after consuming the drug in accordance with her physician’s prescription.

According to the complaint as originally filed, the defendants knew or should have known that people who ingested Reglan for a period of longer than 12 weeks were at a heightened risk of experiencing neurological side effects. Some data suggests that the risk of tardive dyskenesia is 100 times higher for people who take Reglan and metodopramide for periods of longer than 12 weeks.

Case removed under federal diversity jurisdiction

The case was removed after the court determined that the facts met all federal jurisdiction requirements. In order to have a case removed to federal court, a defendant must prove complete diversity of citizenship (i.e., the plaintiffs and defendants are citizens of different states in accordance with parameters set forth by the U.S. court system), and that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.

Though federal courts follow state laws, there are instances in which state or federal court might be advantageous to a litigant, which is why corporations sometimes move to have cases removed to federal courts. In this case, the defendants were able to successfully remove the case by showing that all requirements were satisfied, as well as the fact that the plaintiff’s inclusion of her medical practitioner, who was part of the original claim, but later granted a non-suit by the plaintiff, was not enough to defeat diversity jurisdiciton.

Reglan tardive dyskinesia

Reglan tardive dyskinesia is a neurological side effect associated with prolonged use of the drug, for which there is no cure. Symptoms of tardive dyskinesia include uncontrollable and involuntary movements of the head, face, neck, arms, legs and trunk, facial grimacing, and uncontrollable tongue movements. Damage caused by tardive dyenesia may include permanent disfigurement.

Numerous Reglan lawsuits await hearing

Since the drug was first introduced on the market, more than a thousand people have come forward with lawsuits alleging Reglan side effects that include central nervous system disorders, depression with suicidal ideation, tardive dyskinesia, tardive dystemia, and visual disturbances.

To date, there are Reglan mass torts pending in California and Pennsylvania, and at least 1,000 others are undergoing centralized management in New Jersey. In 2009, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) declined to combine the Reglan lawsuits into an MDL.