This cases arises out of a product liability action. The plaintiffs allegedly suffered injuries after breast implants they received ruptured and leaked. Plaintiffs can recover damages from the manufacturers of defective products. As your experienced Southern California product liability attorney can tell you, California law allows recovery as long as the plaintiff proves four different elements. First, they must prove that the defendant manufactured the product. Second, plaintiffs must prove that the product was defective when it left the possession of the defendant. Third, plaintiffs must show that they used the product in a reasonably foreseeable manner. Finally, the plaintiff needs to prove that they suffered harm due to the defect.
While the underlying action is a product liability action, the case recently heard by the Federal District Court in the Central District of California was focused on a jurisdictional issue. The court here had to determine whether this case should be heard by the state court of the federal court. State courts have original jurisdiction over personal injury claims. However, these claims can be moved to federal court in certain instances.
Cases can be removed to federal court when there is a constitutional question or the claim arises under federal law. Another situation that allows a case to be removed to federal court is when there is complete diversity of parties and the amount in controversy is $75,000 or more. The defendants are arguing that the case should remain in federal court due to diversity jurisdiction, while the plaintiffs are arguing that the case should remain in state court because there is not actual diversity. The defendants also argue that federal court is proper because the claims arise from under federal law.
In order for there to be total diversity, none of the plaintiffs can be from the same state as any of the defendants. However, the plaintiff cannot just add another defendant to destroy diversity, the parties must be properly joined. Here, the plaintiffs are citizens of California and Colorado. The defendants are from different states with the exception of the silicone manufacturer, who is also from California. The parties agree that the amount in controversy is more than $75,000.
The defendants are arguing that the silicone manufacturer was only added in order to destroy diversity (and thus federal) jurisdiction. However, the court here found the joinder proper as the manufacturer of the silicone was found to be an important party and were not properly added.
In terms of federal question jurisdiction, the defendants are arguing that federal court is proper since the breast implants are subject to many federal regulations. Since there is no specific federal cause of action applicable to this case, the defendants must prove that there is a substantial federal question. The test for whether there is a substantial federal question was outlined in a case called Gunn. A substantial federal question requires four elements: that the claims necessarily depend on a federal law issue, that the claims are substantial enough to justify federal jurisdiction, that federal issues are actually disputed, and that the case is capable of resolution in federal court.
The court here agreed with the plaintiffs that the requirements for federal jurisdiction were not met and thus the case was remanded back to state court as at least two of the elements of the Gunn test were not met.
Contact an Experienced Southern California Personal Injury Attorney Today!
If you have been injured by a defective product, you should contact a Southern California product liability attorney as soon as possible. The experienced product liability attorneys at the Neumann Law Group serve clients in Southern California, including Los Angeles and Huntington Beach. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (213) 277-0001 or by using the contact form on this website.
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