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W.V. Baycol Users Continue For Class Action

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Keith Smith and Shirley Sperlazza were working to get class action certification applied to their lawsuit filed in W.V. Brooke County Circuit Court, September, 2001,  against Bayer’s cholesterol lowering medication Baycol, when the District of Minnesota erroneously that found Smith and Sperlazza were trying to relitigate a previously decided case and blocked the WV state court from granting the certification.

George McCollins had brought a lawsuit against Bayer in W.V. Cabell County Circuit Court in August, 2001. The case was transferred to WV Southern District Court, and then to the District of Minnesota for multidistrict litigation proceedings.

Neither party knew about the other’s case, and in 2008, they both made motions for class certification. McCollins’ case was decided first, with the judge denying certification for WV plaintiffs.  Bayer then claimed that Smith and Sperlazza’s case was the same as McCollins’ case and asked the federal court to enjoin the WV state court from hearing their motion for class. The 8th Circuit court affirmed the District Courts decision to block the state court from considering the motion.

However, the Supreme Court found that the cases were not identical and that “the plaintiff in the state court did not have the requisite connection to the federal suit to be bound by the District Court’s judgment.”

Justice Elena Kagan said that even though both federal and state action sought to certify classes of Baycol users, “the federal court adjudicated McCollins’ certification motion under Federal Rule 23, whereas the state court was poised to consider Smith’s proposed class under W. Va. Rule 23. And the State Supreme Court has generally stated that it will not necessarily interpret its Rule 23 as coterminous with the Federal Rule.” She continued, “If those two legal standards differ …then the federal court resolved an issue not before the state court. In that event, …“whether the [West Virginia] state cour[t]” should certify the proposed class action “has not yet been litigated.” disclaimer: This article: W.V. Baycol Users Continue For Class Action was posted on Friday, June 17th, 2011 at 8:08 pm at and is filed under Defective Drug Lawsuits.

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