United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
DAVID R. HERNDON, Chief District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s ("Bayer") motion to dismiss (Doc. 6). Plaintiff Brittany Blanchard responded (Doc. 14). For the following reasons, Bayer's motion is GRANTED.
On July 26, 2013, plaintiff filed this products liability case against Bayer concerning Bayer's product Mirena. Mirena, a T-shaped polyethylene frame with a steroid reservoir that releases 2003bcg/day of levonorgestrel, is a prescription medication used as a contraceptive. Mirena is manufactured, designed, formulated, tested, packaged, labeled, produced, created, made, constructed, assembled, marketed, advertised, distributed, and sold by Bayer, Bayer OY, and Bayer Pharma AG. Bayer is a corporation organized under the laws of Delaware and having its principal place of business at 6 West Belt Road, Wayne, New Jersey.
Plaintiff, a citizen of Louisiana, alleges the following. In April 2012, plaintiff had the Mirena inserted. Her Mirena insertion was uncomplicated and properly placed. When she returned for an exam approximately six weeks after Mirena was inserted, she was again told that it was properly placed. However, plaintiff began experiencing severe cramping and pain approximately four months later. Her symptoms required additional medical care, treatment, and testing. Plaintiff subsequently had surgery to remove bilateral cysts. On October 4, 2012, plaintiff had the Mirena device removed.
Bayer now moves to dismiss plaintiff's complaint, asserting the Court should apply Louisiana law and plaintiff has failed to state a claim under Louisiana law. Plaintiff responds, arguing New Jersey law should apply and under New Jersey law she has sufficiently stated a claim. In the alternative, she argues that if the Court applies Louisiana Law, she has stated a claim under Louisiana law.
II. Legal Standard
A properly stated claim in a well-pleaded complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief and a demand for the relief sought." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. A defendant may file a motion to dismiss the claim for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Withstanding such a motion requires alleging enough facts to support a claim that is "plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) ( quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Although the plausibility standard does not require a showing of "probability, " a mere showing of the possibility that the defendant acted unlawfully is insufficient. Id.
A. Choice of Law
In a diversity case, the Court applies the choice of law rules of the state in which the district court sits. Wachovia Securities, LLC v. Banco Panamericano, Inc., 674 F.3d 743, 751 (7th Cir. 2012). Illinois has adopted the choice of law analysis from the Second Restatement of Conflict of Laws. Townsend v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., 879 N.E.2d 893, 903 (Ill. 2007). "The cornerstone of the Second Restatement is the most significant relationship' test, the objective of which is to apply the law of the state that, with regard to the particular issue, has the most significant relationship with the parties and the dispute.'" Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 906 N.E.2d 83, 91 (Ill.App.Ct. 2009).
In conducting its analysis, the Court begins with section 146 of the Second Restatement. Townsend, 879 N.E.2d at 903 . Section 146 directs the Court to apply the law of the place of injury unless another state has a more significant relationship with the occurrence and with the parties with respect to the particular issue. Id. In assessing which state has a more significant relationship, the Court considers the following factors: "(a) the place where the injury occurred, (b) the place where the conduct causing the injury occurred, (c) the domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation and place of business of the parties, and (d) the place where the relationship, if any, between the parties is centered." RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONFLICT OF LAWS § 145, at 414 (1971). The Court does not simply count the contacts. Instead, the Court must consider these factors in light of the general principles embodied in Section 6 of the Second Restatement to determine whether those principles tip the scales against the presumption that the law of the place of the injury controls. See Townsend, 903-907.
Having weighed the relevant factors, the Court concludes that Louisiana has the most significant relationship to this case, not New Jersey. The Court infers that the plaintiff's injury occurred in her state of residence, Louisiana. Therefore, the Court presumes that Louisiana law applies unless, as asserted by the plaintiff, New Jersey has a more significant relationship to the occurrence. The product was manufactured and designed in New Jersey thus it is the place where the conduct causing the injury occurred. As previously indicated, plaintiff is a resident and citizen of Louisiana. Bayer is incorporated in the state of Delaware and has its principal place of business in New Jersey. Finally, the relationship between the parties is centered in the state where Mirena was inserted, likely also in Louisiana. See Nichols v. G.D. Searle and Co., 668 N.E.2d 1101, 1103 (Ill.App.Ct. 1996) (holding, in product liability action involving intrauterine contraceptive device, the relationship between parties was centered in the state where each plaintiff "was prescribed and used" the device). Considering these contacts in light of the general principles embodied in the Restatement, the Court cannot conclude that New Jersey's relationship to the facts of this case is greater than that of the place of plaintiff's injury, Louisiana. Accordingly, the Court concludes that Louisiana law controls. See Townsend, 227 Ill.2d at 164-171 (applying ...