This Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider global healthcare company Novo Nordisk’s request to review a decision from Oregon, Novo Nordisk A/S v. Lukas-Werner. Our friends over at SCOTUSblog failed to include it in their “Petitions to Watch” column today, which we feel is an unfortunate oversight on their part.
In a WLF Legal Opinion Letter, released today, DePaul University College of Law Professor Mark Moller explains the facts of the case and argues that it offers the Court a unique opportunity to address personal jurisdiction, an area of law which legal commentators “widely agree is a ‘erratic,’ ‘confused,’ ‘incoherent’ mess.” Novo Nordisk, a Danish company, sold its pharmaceutical products to an independent American distributor, which in turn resold it to a consumer in Oregon. The consumer subsequently contracted cancer and sued Novo Nordisk in Oregon state court. The trial court held that it had jurisdiction over the foreign corporation, a result with which the state appeals court concurred. The Oregon Supreme Court denied review.
Professor Moller provides two reasons for the Court to grant cert. First, “the Court might use the case to clarify when activities of independent distributors and other middlemen subject a defendant to jurisdiction.” Second, “Novo Nordisk also presents opportunities to dispel confusion in a completely different corner of personal jurisdiction doctrine—application of the specific jurisdiction test’s “reasonableness” prong to transnational disputes.”
WLF, along with a number of other prominent organizations, supported Novo Nordisk’s petition with an amicus brief.