Westmoreland Cnty. Emps. Retirement Sys. v. Parkinson, No. 12-3342 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Baxter’s Colleague Infusion Pump, an electronic device used to deliver intravenous fluids to patients, was known to have a range of defects. The FDA sent Baxter warning letters. Baxter’s response was not satisfactory. In 2005 the FDA sought forfeiture of all Baxter‐owned Pumps. In 2006, Baxter entered into a Consent Decree to stop manufacturing and distributing all models of the Pump within the U.S., and committed to bringing the approximately 200,000 Pumps in the hands of health care professionals into compliance with the FDA Act. Baxter devoted significant resources to fixing the Pumps, but the FDA was not satisfied and ordered a product recall. In a derivative suit, plaintiffs alleged that that Baxter’s directors and officers breached fiduciary duties by consciously disregarding their responsibility to bring about compliance with the Consent Decree, causing Baxter to lose more than $550 million. Plaintiffs did not first ask Baxter’s board of directors to pursue those claims, but alleged futility. The district court dismissed, finding that Westmoreland failed adequately to plead demand futility, as required by FRCP 23.1(b)(3) and Delaware substantive law. The Seventh Circuit reversed, stating that particularized facts furnished by plaintiffs cast a reasonable doubt that the defendants’ conduct was the product of a valid exercise of business judgment.