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DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. v. Brown

Supreme Court of Indiana

April 24, 2015

DEPUY ORTHOPAEDICS, INC. AND JOHNSON & JOHNSON, Appellants (Defendants below),
v.
TRAVIS BROWN ET AL., Appellees (Plaintiffs below)

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court, No. 49D11-1202-CT-008271. The Honorable John F. Hanley, Judge. On Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 49A02-1304-CT-332.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: Peter J. Rusthoven, Terri L. Bruksch, Michael R. Conner, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Eric C. Lewis, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Massa, Justice. Rush, C.J., and Dickson, Rucker, and David, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 730

Massa, Justice.

Plaintiffs Travis Brown et al. filed suit against DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. in Marion Superior Court, alleging injuries related to certain hip replacement equipment. DePuy moved to transfer venue to Virginia and Mississippi on the grounds of forum non conveniens, pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 4.4(C). The trial court denied the motion, and certified the question for interlocutory appeal. We find the trial court did not abuse its discretion under Rule 4.4(C), and thus affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

DePuy Orthopaedics is an Indiana corporation, and its principal place of business is located in Warsaw, Kosciusko County, Indiana. From 2005 to 2010, DePuy sold a prosthetic hip implant throughout the United States known as the ASR[TM] XL Acetabular System. Plaintiffs are nineteen individuals who had the ASR[TM] XL System implanted during hip replacement surgeries (eighteen in Virginia, one in Mississippi). Plaintiffs have filed suit in the Marion Superior Court, alleging negligence, breach of express and implied warranties, and fraudulent concealment, after DePuy issued a voluntary global recall on the ASR[TM] XL

Page 731

System. DePuy filed a motion to dismiss under Trial Rule 4.4(C),[1] asserting that Virginia and Mississippi were the proper fora. Following extensive briefing by both parties and oral argument, the trial court summarily denied DePuy's motion to dismiss. DePuy filed an interlocutory appeal, and the Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the trial court had abused its discretion in denying the motion, given the matter's stronger connection to Virginia and Mississippi. DePuy Orthopaedics Inc. v. Brown, 10 N.E.3d 567, 575 (Ind.Ct.App. 2014). We now grant Plaintiffs' petition for transfer, thus vacating the opinion below. Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A). We affirm the trial court.

Standard of Review

Pursuant to Trial Rule 4.4(C), the trial court exercises discretion with respect to motions to dismiss based on forum non conveniens, and our review is thus limited to abuse of that discretion. Anyango v. Rolls-Royce ...


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