The plaintiffs in a New Jersey lawsuit against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. have asked the court to reconsider the dismissal of the case back in February. At the center of the suit are the bone drugs produced by Novartis called Zometa and Aredia. Plaintiffs across the country claim that these drugs have caused them to develop a jaw condition called osteonecrosis.
In February plaintiff Delores Kuch brought a claim against Novartis in Morris County New Jersey. Kuch claims that the bone drugs caused her to develop osteonecrosis and a femur fracture. The judge dismissed the suit based on a New Jersey Supreme Court directive. This directive instructed all litigants to file cases of this nature in Middlesex County where many of these cases have already been consolidated. Kuch then filed a motion for reconsideration. In this motion, she claimed that she filed in Morris County because it was closest to her home and she needed to file suit before the deadline. Her attorneys have said that they filed suit in Morris County because they did not think the rules prohibited them from doing so.
The judge denied the motion for reconsideration for a number of reasons. The judge found that Kuch’s counsel had litigated various other Novartis claims and was aware of the directive instructing filing in Middlesex County. In other words counsel knew they should not have filed in Morris County but chose to ignore that fact and do so anyway. He also found that the dismissal of Kuch’s suit in Morris County would not affect her claim because she had already filed another suit in Middlesex County. Counsel for Kuch are now saying that there may be issue as to whether they filed by the deadline. They are also considering appealing the judge’s decision.
Novartis has had a number of victories in recent months including one in Middlesex County. This creates suspicion as to whether the Kuch filed in Morris County in an effort to forum shop, meaning she was looking for a venue that would treat her most favorably.