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Blackburn v. Shire US, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

May 10, 2018

MARK BLACKBURN, Plaintiff,
v.
SHIRE US, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          R. DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         This matter is before the court on Plaintiffs Motion to Reinstate Shire Development LLC as a Party Defendant (Doc. # 79) and Plaintiffs Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. # 91). Both the Motion to Reinstate (Docs. # 79, 81, 82) and the Motion for Reconsideration (Docs. # 91, 94, 96) are fully briefed. For the reasons stated below, the Motion to Reinstate (Doc. # 79) is due to be denied, and the Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. # 91) is due to be denied.

         II. Background

         Defendants Shire U.S. Inc. and Shire LLC engage in the distribution, marketing, and sale of the drug known as Lialda. (Doc. #41 at ¶ 8). In November 2013, Plaintiff was prescribed Lialda for treatment of his Crohn's disease. (Id. at ¶ 39). Plaintiff took Lialda, as prescribed, from November 2013 until February 2015. (Id.), In September 2015, Plaintiff was diagnosed with Stage IV renal failure and severe chronic interstitial nephritis. (Id. at ¶ 45). On June 10, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Shire U.S. Inc., Shire LLC, Shire Development LLC, Shire Pharmaceutical Development, Inc., and Shire Pharmaceuticals LLC. (Doc. # 1).

         On October 5, 2016, Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiffs claims. (Docs. # 26, 27). Plaintiff filed an opposed motion to amend his complaint on October 24, 2016. (Doc. # 36). After the court ordered Defendants to file a brief in support of its opposition to Plaintiffs motion to amend (Docs. # 37-38), the court granted Plaintiff leave to amend on November 1, 2016. (Doc. #40). On November 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 41). In that amended pleading, Plaintiff asserted that Defendants' recommendation of only "periodic" renal testing while using Lialda, as opposed to the more specific testing regimen detailed in his First Amended Complaint, proximately caused his kidney injury. (Id. #41 at ¶ 26). Specifically, Plaintiff asserted claims for failure to warn under the Alabama Extended Manufacturers Liability Doctrine ("AEMLD") (Count One), fraud (Count Two), suppression and concealment (Count Three), and breach of express warranty (Count Four). (Doc. # 41).

         On November 16, 2016, Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiffs First Amended Complaint. (Docs. # 44, 45). On May 8, 2017, the court dismissed Counts Two, Three, and Four with prejudice and denied Defendants' motion to dismiss Count One without prejudice. (Docs. # 53, 54). After granting Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction on May 12, 2017, the court dismissed Defendants Shire Development LLC, Shire Pharmaceutical Development, Inc., and Shire Pharmaceuticals LLC without prejudice. (Doc. # 56). On June 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Alter or Amend Order and Motion to Amend Complaint (Doc. # 64), which the court denied. (Docs. # 85, 86).

         Plaintiffs Motion to Reinstate Shire Development LLC as a Party Defendant (Doc. # 79) and Plaintiffs Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. # 91) are currently pending before the court. In the Motion to Reinstate, Plaintiff argues that the court should grant him leave to amend his complaint to add Shire Development LLC as a defendant in this case because Shire Development LLC is the holder of the New Drug Application ("NDA") for Lialda. (Doc. # 79). In the Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiff asks the court to reconsider its denial (Docs. # 85, 86) of his Motion to Alter or Amend Order (Doc. # 64) and to allow Plaintiff to file a Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 91). During an on-the-record conference held on November 16, 2017, the court asked the parties to brief Plaintiffs Motion for Reconsideration so that the court, at Plaintiffs request, could take a fresh look at Plaintiffs proposed Second Amended Complaint (Doc. # 64-1). (Doc. # 94-1 at p. 30). The court explores the merits of both pending motions, which are essentially motions to amend, in turn.

         III. Standard of Review

         Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs amended and supplemental pleadings. Absent circumstances not relevant here, a party may amend the pleadings only by leave of the court or by written consent of the adverse party. See Fed R. Civ P. 15(a)(2). "The court should freely give leave when justice so requires." Id. "Ordinarily, a party must be given at least one opportunity to amend before the district court dismisses the complaint." See Corsello v. Lincare, Inc., 428 F.3d 1008, 1014 (11th Cir. 2005). That is, "[u]nless a substantial reason exists to deny leave to amend, the discretion of the District Court is not broad enough to permit denial." Fla. Evergreen Foliage v. E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Co., 470 F.3d 1036, 1041 (11th Cir. 2006) (quotation marks omitted).

         The court, however, need not allow an amendment that would be futile. See Bryant v. Dupree, 252 F.3d 1161, 1163 (11th Cir. 2001). An amendment is futile when "the complaint as amended is still subject to dismissal." Hall v. United Insurance Co., 367 F.3d 1255, 1263 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing Burger King Corp. v. Weaver, 169 F.3d 1310, 1320 (11th Cir. 1999)). A court also need not allow an amendment where there has been undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, or repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed or where allowing the amendment would cause undue prejudice to the opposing party. See Halpin v. Crist, 405 Fed.Appx. 403, 408-09 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Corsello, 428 F.3d at 1014); see also Maynard v. Bd. of Regents of Div. of Univs., 342 F.3d 1281, 1287 (11th Cir. 2003) (holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying a motion to amend filed on the last day of discovery because granting the motion "would have produced more attempts at discovery, delayed disposition of the case, likely prejudice . . . [and] there seems to be no good reason why [the movant] could not have made the motion earlier"). A district court may, in the exercise of its inherent power to manage the conduct of litigation before it, deny leave to amend a complaint, "so long as it does not outright refuse to grant the leave without any justifying reason." Equal Rights Center v. Niles Bolton Assocs., 602 F.3d 597, 603 (4th Cir. 2010); see also Reese v. Herbert, 527 F.3d 1253, 1263 (11th Cir. 2008).

         IV. Analysis

         As explained below, because all of Plaintiff s proposed amendments would be futile, both motions are due to be denied. See Bryant, 252 F.3d at 1163.

         A. Motion for ...


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