In Estate of Hoholek v. AbbVie, Inc., a man apparently used testosterone replacement therapy medication prior to his death. Later, the man’s estate and his spouse filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the drug, its parent company, and two unnamed doctors in an Indiana court. Since the corporate defendants were based in Delaware and Illinois, the medical product manufacturers successfully removed the case to the Northern District of Indiana in Hammond based on diversity of citizenship. A federal court may normally exercise diversity jurisdiction where the defendant in a lawsuit hails from a different state than the plaintiff, and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
After the case was removed to federal court, the defendants filed a motion to stay the proceedings and withdraw appearances made by certain counsel. In addition, the drug companies asked the court to provide them with more time to respond to the plaintiffs’ complaint. According to the defendants, the plaintiffs’ case was similar to that of nearly 500 other individuals involved in ongoing multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) over testosterone replacement therapy. In general, MDL is a unique legal proceeding designed to promote judicial economy by combining complex lawsuits with overlapping issues that are pending across federal districts into a single case. A few days after the case was removed to federal court, the ongoing action was conditionally transferred to the MDL.