Specific jurisdiction is based on the defendant's contacts with the state giving rise to the cause of action, while general jurisdiction is based on whether the defendant is "at home" in the state. "Our decision does not prevent the California and out-of-state plaintiffs from joining together in a consolidated action in the States that have general jurisdiction over BMS", he stated.
The company sells and markets Plavix in California, and does research there.
The ruling, he said, "will not result in the parade of horribles that respondents conjure up".
Only Justice Sonia Sotomayor voted to affirm the California courts' rulings.
The California Supreme Court ruled in August 2016 that it could preside over the case because Bristol-Myers conducted a national marketing campaign and sold almost $1 billion of the drug in the state.
California's highest court ruled 4-3 that all the cases could move ahead in state court even if the specific claims were not connected to California because the company did other business in the state.
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Jurisdiction is the key, Alito wrote. Superior Court of California. "I fear the consequences of the court's decision today will be substantial", she wrote.
Droske said he was struck that the court reached a near-unanimous decision.
The out-of-state people argued it made sense for their cases to go forward in California because the courts there were already considering identical claims by state residents. Sotomayor was the lone dissenter in the Daimler AG case too.
Alito said there was no personal jurisdiction over the nonresidents' claims because they didn't suffer any harm in the state.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she expected the ruling would make it more hard to consolidate lawsuits against corporations in state courts, and could lead to unfairness for individual injury plaintiffs.
"Could it be the cases were filed there because the plaintiffs" lawyers thought that by filing their cases in California, which is one of the nation's worst "Judicial Hellholes, ' they could get a more favorable outcome?" he said.