Florida Appellate Court Remands Defective Drug Case for Personal Jurisdiction Determination

DSC05695-C morguefile DodgertonSkillhauseIn Teva Pharmaceutical Industries v. Ruiz, a Florida man who apparently suffered serious personal injuries after using a contaminated pharmaceutical product filed a negligence and strict liability lawsuit against an Israeli drug manufacturer in Florida. In response, the drug manufacturer filed a motion to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction.

A state court always has personal jurisdiction over residents of the state. For a court to have personal jurisdiction over a non-citizen, however, a defendant must have sufficient minimum contacts with the forum, such as conducting business within the state in which the lawsuit was filed. This requirement was established in order to protect a defendant from being required to litigate a case in a distant forum.

After the trial court denied the drug manufacturer’s motion to dismiss, the company filed an appeal with Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal. On appeal, the business argued the court lacked jurisdiction over the company because it had no connection with the State of Florida. According to the appellate court, jurisdiction is established when there are sufficient facts to bring an action under Section 48.193 of the Florida Statutes, and the foreign defendant has minimum contacts with the state such that constitutional due process requirements are satisfied. When determining whether a defendant has sufficient minimum contacts with the state, a court must examine whether exercising jurisdiction would “offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.”

Next, the court examined the language of Section 48.193. The Court of Appeal said jurisdiction under the law may be specific or general. After examining the pleadings and the evidence offered to the trial court, the appellate court concluded that the trial court lacked general jurisdiction over the drug manufacturer. In addition, the court stated the trial court’s order denying the company’s motion to dismiss the case failed to explain how disputed facts regarding personal jurisdiction were resolved. Since the record did not indicate why the Florida court ruled it had personal jurisdiction over the drug manufacturer, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order denying the company’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The court also remanded the case for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the trial court had specific jurisdiction over the business and whether the drug manufacturer had sufficient minimum contacts with the State of Florida to merit litigating a case in the forum.

If you suffered an injury due to a drug manufacturer’s negligence, you need a knowledgeable South Florida personal injury attorney on your side. To discuss your right to recover damages for harm caused by a defective drug with a seasoned Miami personal injury attorney, call the dedicated advocates at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. at (305) 448-8585 or contact us online.

Additional Resources:

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries v. Ruiz, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 2nd Dist. 2015

More Blog Posts:

Southern District of Florida Allows First-Party Bad-Faith Action Against Insurer to Proceed, October 30, 2015, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Florida Appeals Court Reverses Workers’ Compensation Award On Legal Fees Issue, October 27, 2015, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Photo Credit: DodgertonSkillhause, MorgueFile

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