United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Anne Arundel County,
Maryland's (the “County”) Motion for Remand
(ECF No. 10). The Motion is ripe for disposition, and no
hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md.
2016). For the reasons outlined below, the Court will grant
Arundel County is the fifth most populous county in Maryland.
(Compl. ¶ 31, ECF No. 2). The County provides many
services for its residents, including public health, public
assistance, law enforcement, emergency care, and services for
family and children. (Id.). The County also funds
health insurance and workers' compensation claims for its
employees. (Id.). For the purposes of this action,
the County is a citizen of Maryland. (See id.
Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma, Inc., The Purdue Frederick
Company, Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Cephalon,
Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,
Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Endo Health
Solutions, Inc., and Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(collectively, the “Manufacturer Defendants”) and
Insys Therapeutics, Inc. (“Insys”) manufacture,
market, and sell prescription opioid pain medications.
(Id. ¶ 2). Manufacturer Defendants and Insys
are not citizens of Maryland. (Id. ¶¶
Cardinal Health, Inc., McKesson Corporation, and
AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation (collectively, the
“Distributor Defendants”) distribute opioid
medications to pharmacies, pain clinics, and other
dispensaries across the country, including the County.
(Id. ¶ 3). Each Distributor Defendant is not a
citizen of Maryland. (Id. ¶¶ 42-45).
William Tham, M.D., Physical Medicine and Pain Management
Associates, P.C., Kofi Shaw-Taylor, Happiness Aguzie,
Tormarco Harris, Minnie Ndem, Starlife Wellness Center LLC,
Lawrence Vidaver, M.D., Maryland Healing Waters, LLC, Jackie
Syme, M.D., and Arundel Neurology (collectively, the
“Prescriber Defendants”) are healthcare providers
in the County and the medical practices where the alleged
over-prescribing of opiates occurred. (Id. ¶
4). Each Prescriber Defendant is a citizen of Maryland.
(Id. ¶¶ 47-57, 62).
County filed the present action in the Circuit Court for Anne
Arundel County, Maryland on January 3, 2018. (ECF No. 2). In
its eight-count Complaint, the County alleges: (1) public
nuisance against all Defendants (Count I); (2) violation of
the Maryland False Claims Act, Md. Code Ann., Gen. Prov.
§§ 8-101 et seq. (West 2018), against
Manufacturer Defendants, Insys, and Prescriber Defendants
(Count II); (3) violation of the Maryland Consumer Protection
Act, Md. Code Ann., Com. Law §§ 13-101 et
seq. (West 2018), against Manufacturer Defendants and
Insys (Count III); (4) fraudulent misrepresentation against
Manufacturer Defendants and Insys (Count IV); (5) negligent
misrepresentation against Manufacturer Defendants and Insys
(Count V); (6) negligence against Manufacturer Defendants,
Insys, and Distributor Defendants (Count VI); (7) gross
negligence against Manufacturer Defendants, Insys, and
Distributor Defendants (Count VII); and (8) unjust enrichment
against all Defendants (Count VIII). (Compl. ¶¶
321-421). The County seeks injunctive and monetary relief.
(Id. ¶¶ a-m).
thrust of the County's Complaint is that the Manufacturer
Defendants and Insys fraudulently marketed and promoted
opioids, the Prescriber Defendants fraudulently
over-prescribed opioids, and the Distributor Defendants
failed to limit fraudulent or suspicious distribution of
opioids, causing widespread opioid use and exacting a high
monetary cost to the County. (See id. ¶¶
1-28). This action is one of hundreds of lawsuits filed
against manufacturers, distributors, and prescribers of
opioid products on behalf of state and local governments
related to alleged harms stemming from opioid abuse.
See Feb. 28, 2018 Cond'l Trans. Order (CTO-13)
[“CTO-13”], In re Nat'l Prescription
Opiate Litig. (MDL 2804), MDL No. 2804
(J.P.M.L.), ECF No. 798.
December 5, 2017, before the County initiated this lawsuit,
the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
(“JPML”) created a Multidistrict Litigation
(“MDL”) in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Ohio (the “MDL Court”)
to manage all federal cases in which “cities, counties,
and states . . . allege that: (1) manufacturers of
prescription opioid medications overstated the benefits and
downplayed the risks of the use of their opioids and
aggressively marketed . . . these drugs to physicians, and/or
(2) distributors failed to monitor . . . and report
suspicious orders of prescription opiates.” Dec. 5,
2017 Trans. Order at 3, MDL 2804, ECF No. 328.
February 28, 2018, the JPML conditionally transferred this
action to the MDL Court. CTO-13, MDL 2804, ECF No.
798. On March 7, 2018, the County filed a Notice of
Opposition to the Conditional Transfer Order. Notice
Opp'n Cond'l Trans. Order (CTO-13), MDL
2804, ECF No. 866. The County filed a Motion to Vacate
the Conditional Transfer Order on March 22, 2018. Pl.'s
Mot. Vacate Cond'l Trans. Order (CTO-13), MDL
2804, ECF No. 1005. The Manufacturer Defendants filed a
Response in Opposition on April 12, 2018. Defs.' Joint
Opp'n Pl.'s Mot. Vacate CTO-13, MDL 2804,
ECF No. 1191. The County filed a Reply on April 18, 2018.
Pl.'s Reply Br. Supp. Mot. Vacate CTO-13, MDL
2804, ECF No. 1242.
Endo Health Solutions Inc. and Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.
(collectively, “Endo”) filed a Notice of Removal
from the Circuit Court to the United States District Court
for the District of Maryland on February 20, 2018. (ECF No.
1). On February 26, 2018, the County filed a Motion for
Remand. (ECF No. 10). Endo filed an Opposition on March 12,
2018. (ECF No. 31). The County filed a Reply on March 22,
2018. (ECF No. 38).
Standard of Review
party seeking removal carries the burden of establishing
federal jurisdiction. Mulcahey v. Columbia Organic Chems.
Co., 29 F.3d 148, 151 (4th Cir. 1994) (citing Wilson
v. Republic Iron & Steel Co., 257 U.S. 92 (1921)).
The Court must strictly construe removal jurisdiction because
removal jurisdiction “raises significant federalism
concerns.” Id. (citing Shamrock Oil &
Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100 (1941)). Accordingly,
if federal jurisdiction is doubtful, the Court should grant a
motion to remand. Id. (citing In re Bus.