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Stephanie Millian v. Organon Usa Inc.

August 1, 2012

STEPHANIE MILLIAN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ORGANON USA INC., ORGANON PHARMACEUTICALS USA INC., AND ORGANON INTERNATIONAL INC., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. L-2848-09.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted November 15, 2011

Before Judges Carchman and Nugent.

In this product liability action, plaintiff Stephanie Millian, a Virginia resident, appeals from the March 15, 2011 Law Division order that granted summary judgment to defendants Organon USA, Inc., Organon Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., and Organon International, Inc. We agree with the trial court that plaintiff knew, or by the exercise of reasonable diligence and intelligence should have discovered, more than two years before she filed her complaint, that she had a basis for an actionable claim against defendants. We further agree that a hearing to determine whether New Jersey's "discovery rule" tolled the State's two-year statute of limitations was unnecessary. Accordingly, we affirm the order dismissing the complaint because plaintiff did not file it within the two-year statute of limitations.

I.

We derive the facts from the summary judgment record. Organon USA, Inc. is a New Jersey corporation and shares principal offices with the other Organon defendants in Roseland, New Jersey and Oss, The Netherlands.*fn1 Organon USA "manufactures and markets prescription medicines[,]" including NuvaRing®, a contraceptive device that is inserted vaginally and releases low doses of estrogen and progestin.*fn2 The following risks and possible side effects of NuvaRing® are described in a product package insert:

What are the possible risks and side effects of NuvaRing®? fl Blood clots The hormones in NuvaRing® may cause changes in your blood clotting system which may allow your blood to clot more easily. If blood clots form in your legs, they can travel to the lungs and cause a sudden blockage of a vessel carrying blood to the lungs. Rarely, clots occur in the blood vessels of the eye and may cause blindness, double vision, or other vision problems. The risk of getting blood clots may be greater with the type of progestin in NuvaRing® than with some other progestins in certain low-dose birth control pills.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the symptoms listed below. They may be signs of a serious problem:

* sharp chest pain, coughing blood, or sudden shortness of breath (possible clot in the lung)

* pain in the calf (back of lower leg; possible clot in the leg)

* crushing chest pain or heaviness in the chest (possible heart attack)[.]

After obtaining a prescription for NuvaRing® from a Virginia doctor, plaintiff used the product from September 2004 until she was hospitalized in November 2005. On November 17, 2005, while watching a movie with co-workers in Washington, D.C.,*fn3

she experienced shortness of breath. Later that night, she experienced considerable swelling in one of her legs. The following day she was admitted to Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington and diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) in her left leg that caused a pulmonary embolism (blockage ...


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