Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Blackburn v. Aventis Pharmaceuticals

December 8, 2006

JOSEPH BLACKBURN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
AVENTIS PHARMACEUTICALS, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mary L. Cooper United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

THE PLAINTIFFS PRO SE, Joseph Blackburn and Yvonne Blackburn, apply for in-forma-pauperis relief under 28 U.S.C. § ("Section") 1915 ("Application") in this action brought against the defendants, (1) Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("API"), as successor in interest to Hoechst Marion Roussel, Inc. ("HMR"), (2) Aventis, S.A. ("ASA"), (3) Wyeth Laboratories, Inc. ("WLI"), (4) American Home Products Corporation ("AHP"), (5) Wyeth-Ayerst International, Inc. ("WAI"), and (6) Dow Corning France, S.A. ("DCF"). The Court will address the Application before reviewing the complaint. See Roman v. Jeffes, 904 F.2d 192, 194 n.1 (3d Cir. 1990).

APPLICATION

The plaintiffs assert that they are unemployed and have no savings, receive $833 a month in Social Security payments, own a home on which a bank holds a lien, and own a nine-year old car. (App., at 1-2.) Joseph Blackburn also appears to suffer from a serious liver condition, discussed infra. The Court will grant the Application.

COMPLAINT

The Court may direct sua sponte that a complaint be dismissed if it is frivolous, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court must construe a pro se complaint liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). The Court also must "accept as true all of the allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). But the Court need not credit a plaintiff's bald assertions or legal conclusions. Id.

The plaintiffs assert that Joseph Blackburn sustained liver damage due to ingesting the drugs Pyrazinamide and Rifampin for treatment of tuberculosis. They assert that the defendants "own the patents, manfacture [sic], advertise, promote, and sell, and distribute" these drugs. (Compl., at 8-9.) Yvonne Blackburn brings a derivative cause of action as Joseph's wife. They assert jurisdiction under Section 1332. (Id. at 9.)

Joseph Blackburn has already fully litigated these claims against API, as successor in interest to HMR, and WLI. See Blackburn v. Hoechst Marion Roussel, No. 04-65, 2005 WL 2076572 (N.D. W.Va. Aug. 24, 2005), aff'd, 159 Fed.Appx. 507 (4th Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 126 S.Ct. 2329 (2006). The United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia granted the respective motions by API, as successor in interest to HMR, and WLI to dismiss the claims insofar as asserted against them as being barred by the statute of limitations. Blackburn, 2005 WL 2076572, at *5-*6.

The claims in this new federal action, therefore, are barred by either res judicata or collateral estoppel. The Court may sua sponte consider affirmative defenses, which are generally subject to waiver by a defendant, when screening a pro se complaint in conjunction with an in-forma-pauperis application. Bieregu v. Ashcroft, 259 F.Supp.2d 342, 355 n.11 (D.N.J. 2003); Johnstone v. United States, 980 F.Supp. 148, 153-54 (E.D. Pa. 1997).

I. Res Judicata

The claims asserted by Joseph Blackburn against all of the defendants are barred by res judicata. Yvonne Blackburn's derivative claims are necessarily barred for the same reason. Res judicata, or claim preclusion:

will bar a suit if (1) the judgment in the first action is valid, final and on the merits; (2) the parties in both actions are the same or are in privity with each other; and (3) the claims in the second action . . . arise from the same transaction or occurrence as the claims in the first one.

Sibert v. Phelan, 901 F.Supp. 183, 186 (D.N.J. 1995). Thus, under res judicata, a judgment is given "preclusive effect" by "foreclosing litigation of matters that should have been raised in an earlier suit." Migra v. Warren City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ., 465 U.S. 75, 77 n.1 (1984). As a result, a judgment "foreclos[es] litigation of a matter that never has been litigated, because of a determination that it should ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.