Ramirez v. Vintage Pharmaceuticals LLC, No. 17-1221 (3d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
A packaging error reversed the sequence of Qualitest birth control pills contained within each package, resulting in a less effective dosage. Qualitest executed nationwide recalls reaching 3.2 million packs of pills. Plaintiffs, alleging that they were harmed, filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, alleging that similarly-situated plaintiffs are residents of 28 different states “whose claims arise out of a common set of operative facts . . . and which claims have been filed together . . . for purposes of case management on a mass tort basis.” The defendants removed the action to federal court as a “mass action” under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(11). The district court remanded, concluding that CAFA precluded federal jurisdiction because plaintiffs did not propose to try their claims jointly. Cases that are consolidated or coordinated only for pretrial purposes are explicitly exempted from CAFA’s mass action provision. The Third Circuit reversed, finding federal jurisdiction proper under CAFA. The language plaintiffs held out as disclaiming their intent to seek a joint trial was not sufficiently definite to prevent removal. Where more than 100 plaintiffs file a single complaint containing claims involving common questions of law and fact, a proposal for a joint trial will be presumed unless an explicit, unambiguous disclaimer is included.