In a very important opinion, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a product liability suit was improperly dismissed when it would be “time-barred” in the purportedly more convenient forum in which it could have been filed, West Virginia’s High Court reversed the judgment of a trial court. The Plaintiff, a resident of North Carolina, alleges that his wife died in 2005 because of an overdose of the narcotic fentanyl delivered to her body through a pain patch made by Mylan Pharmaceuticals, a West Virginia corporation.
In 2008, the Plaintiff filed a wrongful death suit against Mylan in a West Virginia state court. Mylan moved to dismiss, contending that North Carolina was the more convenient forum because that is where the Plaintiff’s action accrued. The Plaintiff argued that dismissal was inappropriate on the basis of forum non conveniens because his lawsuit was time-barred under North Carolina law, and he would be left without a remedy. The West Virginia High Court agreed with the Plaintiff, explaining that:
because North Carolina does not recognize the discovery rule, it is not a forum in which [the Plaintiff] can attempt to litigate his claims. Accordingly, the remedy provided by North Carolina is so inadequate and unsatisfactory that it is no remedy at all. Under the facts of this case, therefore, North Carolina does not ‘exist’ as an alternate forum in which [the Plaintiff’s] claims may be tried and the circuit court erred in dismissing the action on the basis of forum non conveniens.
This is a very good decision by the West Virginia court. Had they ruled otherwise, it would have resulted in an injured party being deprived of a legal remedy for an alleged wrong.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
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