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Smith v. Bayer Corporation

564 U.S. 299 (2011)

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Smith v. Bayer Corporation

United States Supreme Court

564 U.S. 299 (2011)

Facts

George McCollins sued Bayer Corporation (Bayer) (defendant) in a West Virginia court, claiming that Bayer’s sale of an allegedly hazardous drug, Baycol, violated West Virginia’s consumer protection statute and express and implied warranties. A month later, Keith Smith and Shirley Sperlazza (Smith) (plaintiffs) sued Bayer and others (defendants) in a different West Virginia state court, alleging similar claims to McCollins. Neither McCollins nor Smith knew of the other’s suit. Bayer removed McCollins’s action to federal court on the basis of diversity, but Bayer could not remove Smith’s case, because other defendants in the action were West Virginia residents. Both McCollins and Smith sought to represent a class of all West Virginia purchasers of Baycol. The federal court denied McCollins’s motion for certification on the ground that, because each class member would need to prove actual injury, individual issues predominated. McCollins did not appeal. Bayer moved the McCollins court to enjoin the Smith court from considering Smith’s motion for certification. The district court granted an injunction. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed, applying the relitigation exception to the Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2283. Smith petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kagan, J.)

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