Arizona District Court Grants City of Prescott’s Motion to Remand, The MDL Vacates Its Conditional Transfer Order

The City of Prescott’s Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors Will Return to Yavapai County Superior Court for the State of Arizona

The City Attorney’s Office for the City of Prescott released the following statement related to the Arizona District Court’s Order granting the City of Prescott’s Motion to Remand its lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors of opiates from federal court to state court where it was initially filed.

“We are gratified that last Friday the Arizona District Court granted in full our Motion to Remand the City’s lawsuit and send our case against the opioid manufacturers and distributors back to state court.  One defendant removed the case, arguing that it should be tried in the massive Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”) now pending in Ohio federal court, and two additional defendants filed a Motion to Stay the case in the Arizona District Court asking it not decide the City’s Motion to Remand, so that the case would be transferred to the MDL in Ohio pursuant to a Conditional Transfer Order (“CTO”) issued by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.  The City opposed the Motion to Stay because it wants to seek justice right here in Yavapai County, and did not want the case languishing in a far-away federal court.  Fortunately, the Court saw through the defense tactics, granted the City’s Motion to Remand, and denied the defendants’ Motion to Stay, sending the City’s lawsuit back to state court where it belongs. 

The Court rested its decision on the well-recognized legal principle that a court ought to give deference to a plaintiff’s choice of forum, and here, since Prescott chose to sue in Yavapai County, any issue of fairness weighs in favor of trying the case there.  The Court also correctly recognized that the City’s complaint only pleads state law claims (no federal claims) and therefore an Arizona state court judge and jury are best suited to hear and decide these claims. 

We are also pleased that the United States Judicial Panel for the MDL immediately respected the remand order and expeditiously vacated its CTO, clearing the way for the case to return to Yavapai County.       

We are looking forward to the upcoming early meeting of counsel, appearing soon before the Honorable John Napper of the Yavapai County Superior Court, and preparing our case for trial there.” 

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