Ophelia Dubose v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company et al, No. 3:2017cv00244 - Document 39 (N.D. Cal. 2017)

Court Description: ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION, DENYING REQUEST FOR JURISDICTIONAL DISCOVERY, AND GRANTING MOTION TO TRANSFER by Judge Jon S. Tigar granting in part and denying in part 13 Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. (wsn, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/27/2017)
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Ophelia Dubose v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company et al Doc. 39 1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 OPHELIA DUBOSE, Plaintiff, 8 v. 9 10 BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB COMPANY, et al., 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 17-cv-00244-JST Defendants. ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF PERSONAL JURISDICTION, DENYING REQUEST FOR JURISDICTIONAL DISCOVERY, AND GRANTING MOTION TO TRANSFER Re: ECF No. 13 12 Before the Court is Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction under 13 14 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), or in the Alternative, to Transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 15 1404(a). ECF No. 13. Plaintiff opposes the motion. ECF No. 27. The Court denies the motion to 16 dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and grants the motion to transfer the case to the District of South 17 Carolina pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). 18 I. 19 BACKGROUND On April 18, 2017, Plaintiff Ophelia Dubose filed a complaint against AstraZeneca 20 Pharmaceuticals LP (“AstraZeneca”), Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (“Bristol-Myers”), and 21 McKesson Corporation (“McKesson”). Dubose is a citizen and resident of South Carolina. ECF 22 No. 1 ¶ 7. Bristol-Myers is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in New 23 York. Id. ¶ 9; ECF No. 13 at 11, n.4. AstraZeneca is a Delaware limited partnership with its 24 principal place of business in Delaware. Id. ¶ 11. McKesson is a Delaware corporation with its 25 principal place of business in California. Id. ¶ 12. The complaint alleges that Saxagliptin, a 26 prescription drug under the brands Onglyza and Kombiglyze XR, causes heart failure, congestive 27 heart failure, cardiac failure, death from heart failure, and other serious conditions to users who 28 suffer from Type 2 diabetes, due to their increased cardiovascular risk. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff Dockets.Justia.com 1 alleges that Defendants were involved with aspects of bringing Saxagliptin to market, including, 2 but not limited to, the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of the prescription drug. Id. ¶¶ 3 27-29, 33-35. In addition, Plaintiff claims that Defendants refused to warn, failed to warn, or 4 “under-warned” about Saxagliptin’s risks, and engaged in “inadequate clinical trials, testing and 5 study, and inadequate reporting regarding the results of the clinical trials, testing and study.” See 6 ECF No. 1 at 1-9, 11. 7 On April 24, 2017, Defendants filed the instant motion, arguing that the Court lacks 8 personal jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s claims with regard to AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers because 9 they are out-of-state defendants and Plaintiff’s claims do not arise from Defendants’ conduct within California. ECF No. 13 at 9. In the alternative, Bristol-Myers, AstraZeneca, and 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 McKesson move to transfer the case to the United States District Court for the District of South 12 Carolina because Plaintiff resides in South Carolina and does not allege any connection to 13 California. Id. 14 II. LEGAL STANDARD 15 “In opposition to a defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the 16 plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that jurisdiction is proper.” Boschetto v. Hansing, 539 17 F.3d 1011, 1015 (9th Cir. 2008). Absent an evidentiary hearing, the plaintiff need only make a 18 “prima facie showing” of personal jurisdiction. Id. (quoting Sher v. Johnson, 911 F.2d 1357, 1361 19 (9th Cir. 1990)). “Uncontroverted allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint must be taken as true.” 20 Id. Where there are “[c]onflicts between the parties over statements contained in affidavits,” they 21 “must be resolved in the plaintiff’s favor.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting 22 Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 800 (9th Cir. 2004)). 23 Before a court can exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant, the laws of 24 the forum state must provide a basis for exercising personal jurisdiction, and the assertion of 25 personal jurisdiction must comport with due process. CollegeSource, Inc. v. AcademyOne, Inc., 26 653 F.3d 1066, 1073-74 (9th Cir. 2011). Because “California’s long-arm statute is co-extensive 27 with federal standards, . . . a federal court may exercise personal jurisdiction if doing so comports 28 with federal constitutional due process.” Id. (citing Panavision Int’l L.P. v. Toppen, 141 F.3d 2 1 1316, 1320 (9th Cir. 1998)). There are two types of personal jurisdiction: “general or all-purpose” and “specific or case- 2 3 linked.” Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915, 919 (2011) (citing 4 Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 414 nn.8-9 (1984)). When a 5 defendant’s affiliations with the forum state are so “continuous and systematic” as to render the 6 defendant “at home” in the state, a court may assert general jurisdiction to “hear any and all 7 claims” against that defendant. Id. “Specific jurisdiction, on the other hand, depends on an affiliatio[n] between the forum and 8 the underlying controversy, principal, activity or an occurrence that takes place in the forum State 10 and is therefore subject to the State’s regulation.” Goodyear, 564 U.S. at 919 (internal quotation 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 9 marks omitted). In contrast to general jurisdiction, specific jurisdiction is also “confined to 12 adjudication of issues deriving from, or connected with, the very controversy that establishes 13 jurisdiction.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). In other words, specific jurisdiction “focuses 14 on the relationship among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation.” Walden v. Fiore, 134 15 S.Ct. 1115, 1121 (2014). The Ninth Circuit has established a “three-prong test for analyzing a 16 claim of specific personal jurisdiction”: 17 (1) The non-resident defendant must purposefully direct his activities or consummate some transaction with the forum or resident thereof; or perform some act by which he purposefully avails himself of the privilege of conducting activities in the forum thereby invoking the benefits and protections of its laws; (2) the claim must be one which arises out of or relates to the defendant's forum-related activities; and (3) the exercise of jurisdiction must comport with fair play and substantial justice, i.e. it must be reasonable. 18 19 20 21 Schwarzenegger, 374 F.3d at 802 (quoting Lake v. Lake, 817 F.2d 1416, 1421 (9th Cir. 1987)). 22 “The plaintiff bears the burden of satisfying the first two prongs of the test.” Id. (citing Sher, 911 23 F.2d at 1361). If the plaintiff succeeds in doing so, “the burden then shifts to the defendant to 24 ‘present a compelling case’ that the exercise of jurisdiction would not be reasonable.” Id. (quoting 25 Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 477 (1985)). 26 III. DISCUSSION 27 A. Personal Jurisdiction 28 The dispute before the Court is whether it has specific jurisdiction over Bristol-Myers and 3 1 AstraZeneca.1 The first prong of the Ninth Circuit test is not at issue, because Defendants concede 2 that they have availed themselves of the forum’s benefits. Turning to the second prong, Bristol- 3 Myers and AstraZeneca argue that Plaintiff does not “meet the Ninth Circuit’s ‘arising from’ 4 standard because she has not alleged and cannot demonstrate that [their] activities . . . in California 5 caused her alleged injury in South Carolina.” ECF No. 13 at 15. A plaintiff’s “residency in the forum state is not the sine qua non of specific jurisdiction.” 7 Guillette v. PD-RX Pharmaceuticals Inc., No. 5:15-cv-00564-R, 2016 WL 3094073, at *4 (W.D. 8 Okla. June 1, 2016) (citing Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 465 U.S. 770, 776 (1984)). Neither 9 is where the Plaintiff experienced her injury. Rather, the Supreme Court has instructed that “[t]he 10 proper question is not where the plaintiff experienced a particular injury or effect but whether the 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 6 defendant’s conduct connects him to the forum in a meaningful way.” Walden, 134 S.Ct. at 1125. In Walden, the Supreme Court emphasized that “it is the defendant, not the plaintiff or 12 13 third parties, who must create contacts with the forum State.” Id. at 1126. Moreover, the effect of 14 the defendant’s conduct must be “tethered to” the state, not to the plaintiff. Id. at 1125. In this 15 circuit, courts apply a “but for” test to determine whether a claim arises out of the defendant’s 16 forum-related activities. Doe v. Unocal Corp., 248 F.3d 915, 924 (9th Cir. 2001). The question is, 17 but for Bristol-Myers’s and AstraZeneca’s conduct in California, would Dubose’s injury have 18 occurred? LiveCareer Ltd. v. Su Jia Techs. Litd., No. 14-CV-03336-JST, 2015 WL 1448505 at *5 19 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 31, 2015). The Court concludes Dubose’s injuries would not have occurred but 20 for Bristol-Myers’s and AstraZeneca’s contacts with California because the Saxagliptin clinical 21 trials conducted here were part of the unbroken chain of events leading to Plaintiff’s alleged 22 injury. Defendants argue against this result on several grounds. First, they argue that Plaintiff’s 23 24 claims sound in failure to warn and fraudulent concealment, not in any harm she suffered as a 25 result of any clinical trial. That argument ignores, however, Plaintiff’s allegations that Defendants 26 engaged in “inadequate clinical trials, testing and study, and inadequate reporting regarding the 27 28 1 Plaintiff does not contend that the Court has general jurisdiction over these defendants. 4 1 results of the clinical trials, testing and study.” ECF No. 1 at 1-9, 11. The related state court case 2 on which Plaintiff relies also notes that “Saxagliptin was developed (at least in part) in 3 California.” ECF No. 27-1 at 10. Surely, if the drug at issue had never been developed, tested, or 4 approved, Plaintiff would not have been harmed by it. 5 Defendants also note that the same public records Plaintiff cites reveal that clinical trials for the drug at issue occurred in many forums. ECF No. 30 at 2, 5. “Under the [but-for] approach, 7 [however,] any event in the causal chain leading to the plaintiff’s injury is sufficiently related to 8 the claim to support the exercise of specific jurisdiction.” Newsome v. Gallacher, 722 F.3d 1257, 9 1269 (10th Cir. 2013) (quoting Dudnikov v. Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, Inc., 514 F.3d 1063, 10 1078 (10th Cir. 2008)). Analogously, the Ninth Circuit has held in the context of constitutional 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 6 standing that “a causal chain does not fail simply because it has several ‘links,’ provided those 12 links are ‘not hypothetical or tenuous’ and remain ‘plausib[le].’” Maya v. Centex Corp., 658 F.3d 13 1060, 1070 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Nat’l Audubon Soc., Inc. v. Davis, 307 F.3d 835, 849 (9th 14 Cir. 2002)). 15 A similar case concerning the prescription drug Paxil, M.M. ex rel. Meyers v. 16 GlaxoSmithKline LLC, 61 N.E.3d 1026, 1031 (Ill. Ct. App. 2016), is instructive. There, plaintiffs 17 alleged “(1) strict liability and failure to warn, (2) strict products liability and design defect, (3) 18 negligence, (4) breach of implied warranty, (5) breach of express warranty, and (6) negligent 19 misrepresentation and concealment.” Id. Defendant GSK moved to dismiss the out-of-state 20 plaintiffs’ claims in part due to a lack of specific personal jurisdiction, claiming that “its actions or 21 omissions in Illinois were not the ‘but for’ cause of the alleged harm: plaintiffs did not serve as 22 study subjects in Illinois, did not receive Paxil prescriptions in Illinois, did not ingest Paxil in 23 Illinois, and did not suffer injury from Paxil in Illinois.” Id. at 1032. “GSK conducted 18 24 preclinical and clinical studies on Paxil in Illinois,” but GSK “argued that plaintiffs’ claims did not 25 arise out of defendant GSK’s contacts in Illinois, specifically, because Paxil clinical trials took 26 place in 44 states and abroad.” Id. at 1032-33. As in this case, the clinical trials conducted in the 27 forum state constituted only a “small fraction” of the overall clinical trials “in the multicenter 28 [drug] study.” Id. at 1038, 1040. There, as here, “[n]either defense counsel nor plaintiffs’ counsel 5 were able to suggest a bright-line test for the number of [forum state] trials that would give rise to 2 personal jurisdiction” in the forum state. Id. at 1033. The M.M. court found that plaintiffs had 3 “made a prima facie showing that their claims directly arose from or related to . . . acts of 4 omission during the clinical trials and the resulting inadequate warning labels,” and that it was 5 inconsequential that only a sliver of those trials occurred in the forum state. Id. at 1037, 1041-42.2 6 Similarly, in In re Syngenta Mass Tort Actions, No. 3:16-cv-00255-DRH, 2017 WL 2117728 7 (S.D. Ill. May 15, 2017), the defendants argued “that their contacts with Illinois [were] not part of 8 the causal chain leading to the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries,” and that therefore personal jurisdiction 9 was lacking. Id. at 4. Plaintiffs in that case sought “to hold Syngenta liable for their losses 10 resulting from the reduced price for their corn caused by Syngenta’s release of [genetically 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 1 modified] products into the marketplace.” Id. at *1. They argued that “Syngenta conducted 12 numerous field tests in Illinois, which aided in the eventual commercialization of VIPTERA™, 13 which is the stated underlying basis for all plaintiffs’ claims.” Id. at *4. The court rejected 14 Defendants’ “assert[ion] that the field tests have nothing to do with plaintiffs’ current allegations, 15 id. at *4, holding that plaintiffs did “not have to prove that [the defendant] did all their business 16 activities regarding commercialization and marketing of [the genetically modified corn] seeds in 17 Illinois only,” but only that “those contacts [were] meaningful.” Id. at *5. The court found that 18 plaintiffs had established specific personal jurisdiction. Id. at *6. Defendants contend that application of the “but for” test in multi-center clinical trials in 19 20 multiple jurisdictions might have the effect of creating specific jurisdiction in courts in numerous 21 states. So it might but only because important economic and scientific activity connected to an 22 alleged harm occurred in each of those locations. Moreover, it is not clear what the alternative 23 would be. Presumably, Defendants would agree that if 100 percent of clinical trials were 24 The M.M. court noted the Illinois Supreme Court’s observation that: “‘Although the United States Supreme Court has not clarified what is meant by ‘arising out of’ or ‘related to’ in the context of a jurisdiction question [], several courts have determined that the applicable standard is lenient or flexible.’” Id. at 1037 (quoting Russell v. SNFA, 2013 IL 113909, 987 N.E.2d 778, 797, 370 Ill. Dec. 12 (2013)). The Ninth Circuit has likewise noted that it “has, in light of . . . Supreme Court precedent, adopted a more ‘flexible approach.’” Ochoa v. J.B. Martin and Sons Farms, Inc., 287 F.3d 1182, 1188 n.2 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Brand v. Menlove Dodge, 796 F.2d 1070, 1074 (9th Cir. 1986)). 6 2 25 26 27 28 conducted in a given jurisdiction, the “but for” test would be satisfied. If that is correct, then 2 abandonment of the “but for” test means the adoption of a threshold level of activity below 100 3 percent. What would that threshold be? If 25 percent of the clinical trials were conducted in 4 California, would that be enough? 50 percent? 75 percent? The point is that our existing case law 5 provides no basis for imposing an arbitrary cut-off, and the Court is disinclined to fashion a new 6 barrier to the exercise of its jurisdiction from whole cloth.3 As the Ninth Circuit’s “but for” test 7 and the persuasive analysis in M.M. and Syngenta all make clear, the relevant inquiry is whether 8 the plaintiff’s choice of forum is a proper place for personal jurisdiction, not whether it is the best 9 one. See M.M., 61 N.E.3d at 1041 (agreeing with plaintiffs’ contention that “in the context of 10 specific personal jurisdiction, whether the Illinois contacts are meaningful depends entirely on 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 1 their relation to the Plaintiffs' causes of action, and not at all on a percentage-based comparison 12 between how much related conduct occurred outside of Illinois”). Lastly, the Court notes that the United States Supreme Court recently held in Bristol- 13 14 Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco Cty., that the fact that a 15 defendant had research and laboratory facilities, sales representatives, and sales and marketing 16 operations in a forum state was insufficient to justify the exercise of specific jurisdiction in the 17 absence of an “adequate link between the State and the nonresidents’ claims.” ___ S.Ct. ___, 18 2017 WL 2621322, at *8 (2017). The present case is distinguishable from Bristol-Myers. There, 19 “BMS [Bristol-Myers Squibb] did not develop Plavix in California, did not create a marketing 20 strategy for Plavix in California, and did not manufacture, label, package, or work on the 21 regulatory approval of the product in California,” meaning that its activities in California were not 22 sufficiently linked to the out-of-state plaintiffs’ claims. 2017 WL 2621322, at *4. In this case, 23 Plaintiff alleges that “nearly every pivotal clinical trial necessary for NDA approval involved 24 studying of the Saxagliptin drugs throughout the State of California,” and that “but for the pre- 25 NDA development of the Saxagliptin drugs within the State of California, the drugs would not 26 have been sold and marketed throughout the U.S. nor ingested by Plaintiff.” ECF No. 27 at 5. 27 3 28 The Court does not mean to suggest that even a de minimis level of clinical trial activity would satisfy the requirements of specific jurisdiction. That question is not presented here. 7 1 This linkage between Defendants’ in-state clinical trial activity and Plaintiff’s injury is sufficient 2 to satisfy the Ninth Circuit’s “but for” test. 3 The Court concludes that Plaintiff has established a prima facie case that Defendants’ 4 clinical trials in California were part of the “but for” cause of her injuries sufficient to confer 5 jurisdiction.4 6 B. Transfer 7 In the alternative, Defendants request that this case be transferred to the District of South 8 Carolina. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), “[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the 9 interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought or to any district or division to which all parties have 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 consented.” Id. The purpose of section 1404(a) “is to prevent the waste of time, energy and 12 money and to protect litigants, witnesses, and the public against unnecessary inconvenience and 13 expense.” Van Dusen v. Barrack, 276 U.S. 612, 616 (1964) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Ninth Circuit requires that courts consider a variety of factors in determining whether 14 15 to transfer an action. See Jones v. GNC Franchising, Inc., 211 F.3d 495, 498 (9th Cir. 2000); 16 Decker Coal Co. v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 805 F.2d 834, 843 (9th Cir. 1986). The relevant 17 factors are: (1) plaintiff’s choice of forum, (2) convenience of the parties, (3) convenience of the 18 witnesses, (4) ease of access to the evidence, (5) familiarity of each forum with the applicable law, 19 (6) feasibility of consolidation of other claims, (7) any local interest in the controversy, and (8) the 20 relative court congestion and time of trial in each forum. Barnes & Noble v. LSI Corp., 823 F. 21 Supp. 2d 980, 993 (N.D. Cal. 2011). The district court has the broad discretion “to adjudicate motions to transfer according to 22 23 an ‘individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness.’” Stewart Org., Inc. v. 24 Ricoh Corp., 487 U.S. 22, 29 (1988) (quoting Van Dusen, 376 U.S. at 622). It is not enough for 25 the defendant to merely show that it prefers another forum, and transfer will also not be allowed if 26 27 In light of this conclusion, the Court denies Plaintiff’s request for jurisdictional discovery as moot. 8 4 28 1 the result is merely to shift the inconvenience from one party to another. Van Dusen, 376 U.S. at 2 645-46. 3 “The convenience of the witnesses, particularly non-party witnesses, is often the most 4 important factor.” Grossman v. Johnson & Johnson, Case No. 14-cv-03557-VC, 2015 WL 5 1743116, at *1 (N.D. Cal. April 13, 2015). “The Court must also consider the relative importance 6 of the witnesses.” Id. (citing Gates Learjet Corp. v. Jensen, 743 F.2d 1325, 1335-36 (9th Cir. 7 1984)). “[A]lthough a plaintiff[’]s choice of forum is generally accorded significant weight, this 8 weight is substantially lessened where the plaintiff does not reside in the forum and the acts that 9 gave rise to the case did not occur in that forum.” Id. (citing Pac. Car & Foundry Co. v. Pence, 10 403 F.2d 949, 954 (9th Cir. 1968)). United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Plaintiff is a resident of South Carolina. Although the Court has found that there is a 12 sufficient connection between the acts that gave rise to the case and the California forum for 13 purposes of specific jurisdiction, it remains the case that the overwhelming majority of events 14 directly related to Plaintiff’s injuries took place in South Carolina. Defendants argue that transfer 15 is in the best interests of the parties and witnesses because Plaintiff’s Onglyza was prescribed, 16 purchased, and ingested in South Carolina. ECF No. 13 at 19. Plaintiff’s doctors and all 17 documents related to her medical, pharmacy, insurance, and employment records are located in 18 South Carolina. Key witnesses such as her prescribing physician, treating doctors, employer, and 19 other corroborating witnesses are all located outside California and are outside the subpoena 20 power of this Court. Plaintiff argues that because “[e]xtensive development and testing of 21 Saxagliptin occurred in California, . . . the bulk of the evidence relating to the core issues in this 22 case are likely to be located in California.” ECF No. 27 at 17. While the fact that some testing 23 was performed in California is sufficient to create specific jurisdiction here, Plaintiff’s “bulk of the 24 evidence” statement simply cannot be correct based on the record. Plaintiff does not have an 25 independent connection to the Northern District of California, and AstraZeneca and Bristol 26 Myers’s relevant company documents and witnesses are not located in California. Id. 27 28 The only witness that the Court is sure exists in California with regard to Plaintiff’s case is McKesson, and the only documents located in California are those pertaining to McKesson. 9 1 Clearly, the Northern District of California is a convenient forum for McKesson. However, that 2 convenience is outweighed by the inconvenience to the many third-party witnesses discussed 3 above. Particularly given the Plaintiff’s lack of contacts with her chosen forum, the Court 4 concludes that the remaining factors do not adequately counterbalance the above factors weighing 5 in favor of transfer.5 CONCLUSION 6 Bristol-Myers and AstraZeneca’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is 7 8 denied, Dubose’s request for jurisdictional discovery is denied as moot, and Defendants’ motion to 9 transfer is granted. IT IS SO ORDERED. 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Dated: June 27, 2017 12 ______________________________________ JON S. TIGAR United States District Judge 13 14 15 16 17 18 5 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 As in Grossman, Plaintiff also argues that transfer is inappropriate due to several related actions pending before the Court. “The existence of a related action can be an important consideration ‘because of the positive effects it might have in possible consolidation of discovery and convenience to witnesses and parties.’” Grossman, 2015 WL 1743116, at *1, n.1 (quoting A.J. Indus., Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Court for Cent. Dist. of Cal., 503 F.2d 384, 389 (9th Cir. 1974)). The pending related actions in this case do not persuade the Court that transfer is improper, for the same reasons outlined in Grossman: Here, however, while litigating all the related cases in the Northern District of California might be more convenient for the defendants, there do not appear to be any corresponding benefits in terms of convenience of the plaintiff or any nonparty witnesses. And by moving for transfer, the defendants have demonstrated that they are willing to forgo any such benefit. Consequently, the Court is not persuaded that the pendency of related cases in this district outweighs the factors that strongly favor transfer. Of course, if the plaintiff believes that coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings are necessary to avoid duplicative discovery or otherwise conserve the parties’ resources, the plaintiff is free to file a motion for centralization with the Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Id., 2015 WL 1743116, at *1, n.1. 10