United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Mayor & City
Council of Baltimore's (“Baltimore City” or
the “City”) Motion to Remand (ECF No. 7). 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 the Motion.
City is “a municipal corporation organized and existing
under the laws of the State of Maryland.” (Compl.
¶ 22, ECF No. 2). According to the City, opioid use
“has disrupted the lives of its citizens, damaged its
communities, and imposed overwhelming financial and
logistical costs on its government.” (Id.
¶ 17). As a result, the City “has expended
extraordinary time, effort, and funds to combat the opioid
epidemic.” (Id. ¶ 18). For the purposes
of this action, Baltimore City is a citizen of Maryland.
(See id. ¶ 22).
Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma, Inc., The Purdue Frederick
Company, Inc. (collectively, “Purdue Pharma”),
Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Cephalon, Inc., Johnson &
Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Inc., Ortho-McNeil-Janssen
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Allergan, Plc, Actavis, Inc., Watson
Laboratories, Inc., Actavis, LLC, Actavis Pharma, Inc., Endo
Health Solutions, Inc., and Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(collectively, the “Manufacturer Defendants”)
manufacture, market, and sell prescription opioid pain
medications. (Id. ¶¶ 23-36). Each
Manufacturer Defendant is not a citizen of Maryland, or in
the case of the Purdue Pharma, the City could not identify
the companies' citizenship. (Id. ¶¶
23, 29, 31, 34).
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 in Baltimore City.
(Id. ¶¶ 37-42). Each Distributor Defendant
is not a citizen of Maryland. (Id. ¶¶ 37,
Rosen-Hoffberg Rehabilitation and Pain Management Associates,
P.A., Norman B. Rosen, and Howard J. Hoffberg (collectively,
the “Rosen-Hoffberg Defendants”) are healthcare
providers in Baltimore City and the medical practice at which
the alleged over-prescribing of opiates occurred.
(Id. ¶¶ 43- 45). Each Rosen-Hoffberg
Defendant is a citizen of Maryland. (Id.).
City filed the present action in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City, Maryland on January 31, 2018. (ECF No. 2). In
its four-count Complaint, the City alleges: (1) public
nuisance against all Defendants (Count I); (2) negligence
against all 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 (Count III); and (4) violation of the
Maryland False Claims Act, Md. Code Ann., Gen. Prov.
§§ 8-101 et seq. (West 2018), against
Manufacturer Defendants (Count IV). (Compl. ¶¶
248-80). The City seeks injunctive and monetary relief.
(Id. ¶¶ (a)-(i)).
thrust of the City's Complaint is that the Manufacturer
Defendants fraudulently marketed and promoted opioids, the
Rosen-Hoffberg 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 City. (See id. ¶¶ 1-21). 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 Mar. 27, 2018 Cond'l
Trans. Order (CTO-18) [“CTO-18”], In re
Nat'l Prescription Opiate Litig. (MDL
2804), MDL No. 2804 (J.P.M.L.), ECF No.
December 5, 2017, prior to the City initiating 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, MDL 2804, ECF No. 328.
March 27, 2018, the JPML conditionally transferred this
action to the MDL Court. CTO-18, MDL 2804, ECF No.
1036. On April 2, 2018, the City filed a Notice of Opposition
to the Conditional Transfer Order. Notice Opp'n
Cond'l Trans. Order (CTO-18), MDL 2804, ECF No.
1088. The City filed a Motion to Vacate the Conditional
Transfer Order on April 16, 2018. Pl.'s Mot. Vacate
Cond'l Trans. Order (CTO-18), MDL 2804, ECF No.
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 March 16, 2018. (ECF No. 1).
On March 19, 2018, the City filed a Motion to Remand. (ECF
No. 7). Endo filed an Opposition on March 26, 2018. (ECF No.
27). The City filed a Reply on March 29, 2018. (ECF No. 32).