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Donald v. Astrazeneca Pharmaceuticals LP

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

March 22, 2017

ALICE DONALD
v.
ASTRAZENECA PHARMACEUTICALS, LP, ET AL.

         SECTION "F"

          ORDER AND REASONS

          MARTIN L. C. FELDMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. The motion is GRANTED as to any non-LPLA claims and the express warranty claim the plaintiff pleads. The motion is DENIED as to LPLA claims for defective design, defective composition or construction, and inadequate warning.

         Background

         Alice Donald filed this lawsuit against AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP and AstraZeneca LP for manufacturing a drug the plaintiff ingested, which allegedly caused her kidney injuries.

         The plaintiff alleges that she ingested the drug Nexium, which AstraZeneca manufactures. In her complaint, the plaintiff brings claims for: strict product liability, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, fraud, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent misrepresentation, and breaches of express and implied warranties.

         The defendants move the Court to dismiss the plaintiff's claims on numerous grounds. First, the defendants contend that the Louisiana Products Liability Act (LPLA) is the exclusive remedy and precludes the plaintiff's claims for intentional infliction of emotion distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, fraud, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent misrepresentation, express and implied warranties. Additionally, the defendants contend that the plaintiff failed to plead her claim for fraud with particularity under Rule 9 and that she fails to state claims upon which relief can be granted under Rule 8. Finally, the defendants contend that the plaintiff failed to plead any claims allowed under the LPLA with specificity. The Court considers these contentions in turn.

         I. The Louisiana Products Liability Act

         The Court first considers the applicability of the LPLA to the plaintiff's claims and whether any of the claims must be dismissed as precluded under the LPLA.

         The LPLA provides the “exclusive remedy for products liability suits” under Louisiana law. Demahy v. Schwartz Pharma, Inc., 702 F.3d 177, 182 (5th Cir. 2012); see also La. Stat. Ann. § 9:2800.52. “In order to maintain a successful products liability action under the LPLA, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant is the manufacturer of the product; the claimant's damage was proximately caused by a characteristic of the product; this characteristic made the product unreasonably dangerous; and the claimant's damage arose from a reasonably anticipated use of the product. Id. § 9:2800.54(A). A plaintiff may establish a product was unreasonably dangerous under one of four theories: (1) the product's construction or composition is defective, (2) the product's design is defective, (3) the product's warnings are inadequate, or (4) by showing a breach of express warranty. Id. § 9:2800.54(B). “. . . [F]or causes of action arising after the effective date of the LPLA, negligence, strict liability, and breach of express warranty are not available as theories of recovery against a manufacturer, independent from the LPLA. Stahl v. Novartis Pharm., 283 F.3d 254, 260 (5th Cir. 2002).

         Accordingly, the plaintiff's claims for negligent and intentional infliction of emotion distress, fraud, [1] negligence, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, express warranty, implied warranties, and express warranties are barred. Additionally, the plaintiff's claims for punitive or exemplary damages under Louisiana law are barred. See La. Civ. Code Arts. 2315.3, 2315.4, 2315.7, 2315.8. The Court now considers whether the plaintiff alleges claims under the LPLA that are pleaded sufficiently to survive this motion to dismiss.

         II. Motion to Dismiss Legal Standard

         Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a party to move for dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Such a motion is rarely granted because it is viewed with disfavor. See Lowrey v. Tex. A & M Univ. Sys., 117 F.3d 242, 247 (5th Cir. 1997) (quoting Kaiser Aluminum & Chem. Sales, Inc. v. Avondale Shipyards, Inc., 677 F.2d 1045, 1050 (5th Cir. 1982)).

         Under Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned, ...


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