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NO. 14-1020 __________________________________________________________________ In The United States Court of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit TIMOTHY PECHLIN and ROBIN MALLARD HOPPER, As Personal Representative of the Estate of Lorie Pechlin, deceased (Estate of Lorie Pechlin) Plaintiffs-Appellants v. NOVARTIS PHARMACEUTICALS CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA __________________________________________________________________ BRIEF OF APPELLANTS __________________________________________________________________ ANNESLEY H. DEGARIS CORY, WATSON, CROWDER and DEGARIS 2131 Magnolia Avenue, Suite 200 Birmingham, AL 35205 Telephone: (205) 328-2200

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TABLE OF CONTENTS JURISDICTIONAL STATEMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 STATEMENT OF ISSUES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 STATEMENT OF THE CASE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 I. II. Procedural History. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Necessary Facts.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 ARGUMENT.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 I. II. Standard of Review.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The Court Erred In Granting Summary Judgment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 A. B. The summary judgment standard. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The Alabama statute of limitations does Not bar the Plaintiffs lawsuit because Cross-jurisdictional tolling saves it. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

CONCLUSION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 REQUEST FOR ORAL ARGUMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE WITH RULE 32(A). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 CERTIFICATE OF FILING AND SERVICE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES Cases Page(s)

American Pipe & Constr. Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538 (1974). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3, 6, 7 Armstrong v. Martin Marietta Corp., 138 F.3d 1374 (11th Cir. 1998). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Boardman Petroleum, Inc. v. Federated Mut. Ins. Co., 135 F.3d 750 (11th Cir. 1998). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Ltd. Partnership, 737 F.3d 932 (4th Cir. 2014). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Burdeshaw v. White, 585 So.2d 842 (Ala. 1991). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Etheridge v. Genie Indus. Inc., 632 So.2d 1324 (Ala. 1994). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 White v. Sims, 470 So.2d 1191 (Ala. 1985). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Statutes 28 U.S.C. 1291. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 28 U.S.C. 1332. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 28 U.S.C. 1404(a). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Ala. Code 6-2-30(a). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

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Rules Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(1)(A). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Fed. R. Civ. P. 23.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3, 4 Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

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JURISDICTIONAL STATEMENT The district court had diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332. The action was originally brought by South Carolina plaintiffs against a Delaware corporation with corporate headquarters in New Jersey, and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 exclusive of interest and costs. This Court has appellate jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1291. On December 9, 2013, the District Court granted summary judgment in favor of defendant Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Novartis). Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal on January 8, 2014. The appeal is timely under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(1)(A) and is from a final judgment that disposes of all claims between the parties. STATEMENT OF ISSUES Did the district court err when it found that Plaintiffs claims were barred by the statute of limitations? STATEMENT OF THE CASE I. Procedural History. This case was originally filed on April 30, 2009 in the United States District Court for the Northern Division of Alabama (AA 1)1. Thereafter the case was
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AA refers to the Appellants Appendix. 1

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transferred to the Middle District of Tennessee for pretrial proceedings as part of MDL No. 1760 (In re Aredia and Zometa Products Liability Litigation). Subsequently the case was remanded from MDL No. 1760 to the Northern District of Alabama after which on February 27, 2012 it was transferred to the District of South Carolina. Following transfer to the District of South Carolina, on August 13, 2013, Novartis filed its Motion for Summary Judgment Pursuant to Alabamas Statute of Limitations (AA 15) and Exhibit List (AA 28). On August 27, 2013, Plaintiffs filed their Response in Opposition to Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment Regarding the Alabama Statute of Limitations (AA 249). Thereafter on September 5, 2013, Novartis filed its Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Its Motion for Summary Judgment Pursuant to Alabamas Statute of Limitations with Exhibits (AA 254). On December 9, 2013, the District Court entered an Order Granting Motion for Summary Judgment (AA 342) and that same day entered a Summary Judgment in a Civil Action (AA 344). On January 8, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a timely Notice of Appeal.

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II.

Necessary Facts. Plaintiffs claims are not barred by Alabamas two-year statute of

limitations due to class-action tolling. Ms. Pechlin was a putative class member who filed her lawsuit within two years after the MDL Court denied class certification (AA 249). On September 15, 2005, the class representatives filed their Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 class action against Novartis in the MDL Court (AA 249). This tolled the statute of limitations for all putative class members during the pendency of the class action. See American Pipe & Constr. Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538, 552-54, 94 S.Ct. 756, 38 L.Ed.2d 713 (1974). On September 7, 2006, Ms. Pechlins cause of action accrued because her oncologist, Dr. Hall, discussed osteonecrosis of the jaw with her on that day. At that time, Ms. Pechlin became a putative member of the class action (AA 250). On October 10, 2007, the MDL Court entered an order denying class certification (AA 250). The tolling stopped on this day for all putative class members including Ms. Pechlin. On this day, Alabamas two-year statute of limitations began running on Ms. Pechlins claims. On April 30, 2009, Ms. Pechlin filed her lawsuit in the Northern District of Alabama. Only eighteen months and twenty days passed on her statute of
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limitations between October 10, 2007 and April 30, 2009. Her lawsuit was filed within two years of the MDL Courts denial of class certification and thus within the Alabama statute of limitations (AA 250). SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT Plaintiffs claims are not barred by Alabamas two-year statute of limitations due to class-action tolling. Ms. Pechlin was a putative class member who filed her lawsuit within two years after the MDL Court denied class certification. On September 15, 2005, the class representatives filed their Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 class action against Novartis in the MDL Court (AA 249). This tolled the statute of limitations for all putative class members during the pendency of the class action. Ms. Pechlins cause of action accrued on October 7, 2006, when her oncologist told her about the relationship between Zometa and her osteonecrosis of the jaw. On October 10, 2007, the MDL Court entered an order denying class certification. The tolling stopped on this day for all putative class members including Ms. Pechlin.

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On April 30, 2009, Ms. Pechlin filed her lawsuit in the Northern District of Alabama. Her lawsuit was filed within two years of the MDL Courts denial of class certification and thus within the Alabama statute of limitations. ARGUMENT I. Standard of Review. An order granting summary judgment is reviewed de novo. Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Ltd. Partnership, 737 F.3d 932, 937 (4th Cir. 2014). II. The Court Erred In Granting Summary Judgment. A. The summary judgment standard.

Summary judgment should only be granted when there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). There is no factual dispute here, just a legal one concerning the availability of cross-jurisdictional class-action tolling under Alabama law. B. The Alabama statute of limitations does not bar the Plaintiffs lawsuit because cross-jurisdictional tolling saves it.

Ms. Pechlin was injured in South Carolina. She filed her lawsuit in Alabama federal court. Federal courts sitting in diversity apply the forum states choice of law rules. Boardman Petroleum, Inc. v. Federated Mut. Ins. Co., 135

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F.3d 750, 752 (11th Cir. 1998). In multidistrict litigation, the transferor courts choice-of-law rules apply to the case. Id. (citing 28 U.S.C. 1404(a)). This means Alabamas choice of law applies to Ms. Pechlins case. The Alabama Supreme Court applies lex fori to the statute of limitations and tolling doctrines. Etheridge v. Genie Indus., Inc., 632 So.2d 1324, 1326-27 (Ala. 1994). Under Etheridge, the District Court had to apply Alabamas statute of limitations and tolling doctrines to Ms. Pechlins claims. In Alabama, the statute of limitations in product liability actions is two years after the cause of action accrued. Ala. Code 6-2-30(a). The parties agree that Alabama law applies to this dispute. There are two kinds of class-action tolling: intra-jurisdictional and crossjurisdictional. Novartis agrees that Alabama recognizes intra-jurisdictional tolling, i.e., where the class action is pending in the same state as the state where the lawsuit is later filed. However, Novartis argues that cross-jurisdictional tolling is a stranger to Alabama. Cross-jurisdictional tolling is where the class action is pending in a state other than the one where the lawsuit is later filed. Novartis basically concedes that if cross-jurisdictional tolling applies here, then Ms. Pechlins case was timely filed. The Supreme Court of Alabama adopted Am. Pipe and held the statute of limitations is tolled from the date of the commencement of the action until the
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date of denial of class certification in White v. Sims, 470 So.2d 1191, 1193 (Ala. 1985). The White Court adopted Am. Pipe without any limitation whatsoever. There was no reference to limiting the tolling to intra-jurisdictional class actions only, which would be contrary to the premise of the tolling doctrine that Alabama embraced. The Alabama Supreme Court specifically found that the principal function of the class action - to avoid multiplicity in filing suits, motions and papers - would be defeated if the statute of limitations was not tolled in in favor of the plaintiffs. White, 470 So.2d at 1192-93. Similarly, the function of class action would be defeated here if the Alabama statute of limitations were not tolled in Ms. Pechlins case. The Alabama Supreme Court had another opportunity to overrule, modify, or circumscribe the class-action tolling doctrine in Burdeshaw v. White, 585 So.2d 842 (Ala. 1991). The Burdeshaw court reaffirmed White and class-action tolling as expressed in Am. Pipe without any limitation whatsoever. The Northern District of Alabama is in the Eleventh Circuit. The Eleventh Circuit adopted Am. Pipe without any limitation in Armstrong v. Martin Marietta Corp., 138 F.3d 1374, 1391 (11th Cir. 1998). Based on the foregoing, the District Court erred when it failed to apply cross-jurisdictional tolling to Plaintiffs claims.
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CONCLUSION The District Court erred when it failed to apply cross-jurisdictional tolling in this case. Therefore, it erred in finding that Ms. Pechlins claims were barred by the statute of limitations. The judgment in favor of Novartis must be reversed.

Dated: April 17, 2014

Respectfully submitted, /s/ Annesley H. DeGaris ANNESLEY H. DEGARIS CORY, WATSON, CROWDER and DEGARIS 2131 Magnolia Avenue, Suite 200 Birmingham, AL 35205 Telephone: (205) 328-2200

Attorneys for Appellants TIMOTHY PECHLIN AND ROBIN MALLARD HOPPER, AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF LORIE PECHLIN, DECEASED (ESTATE OF LORIE PECHLIN)

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REQUEST FOR ORAL ARGUMENT Plaintiffs respectfully suggest that oral argument would be helpful to a complete understanding of the time-line of the case and the current state of Alabama law on the issue of cross-jurisdictional tolling of the statute of limitations.

Dated: April 17, 2014

Respectfully submitted, /s/ Annesley H. DeGaris ANNESLEY H. DEGARIS CORY, WATSON, CROWDER and DEGARIS 2131 Magnolia Avenue, Suite 200 Birmingham, AL 35205 Telephone: (205) 328-2200

Attorneys for Appellants TIMOTHY PECHLIN AND ROBIN MALLARD HOPPER, AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF LORIE PECHLIN, DECEASED (ESTATE OF LORIE PECHLIN)

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CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE WITH RULE 32(A) 1. This brief complies with the type-volume limitation of Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(7)(B) because: [X] this brief contains 2,226 words, excluding the parts of the brief exempted by Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(7)(B)(iii), or [ ] this brief uses a monospaced typeface and contains _________________ lines of text, excluding the parts of the brief exempted by Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(7)(B)(iii). 2. This brief complies with the typeface requirements of Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(5) and the type style requirements of Fed. R. App. P. 32(a)(6) because: [ ] this brief has been prepared in a proportionally spaced typeface using Microsoft Office Word 97-2003 in 14 point Times New Roman; or [X] this brief has been prepared in a monospaced typeface using WordPerfect Office X6 with 14 point Times New Roman.

Dated: April 17, 2014

Respectfully submitted, /s/ Annesley H. DeGaris ANNESLEY H. DEGARIS CORY, WATSON, CROWDER and DEGARIS 2131 Magnolia Avenue, Suite 200 Birmingham, AL 35205 Telephone: (205) 328-2200

Attorneys for Appellants TIMOTHY PECHLIN AND ROBIN MALLARD HOPPER, AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF LORIE PECHLIN, DECEASED (ESTATE OF LORIE PECHLIN)
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CERTIFICATE OF FILING AND SERVICE I hereby certify that on this 17th day of April 2014, I caused this Brief of Appellants to be filed electronically with the Clerk of the Court using the CM/ECF System, which will send notice of such filing to the following registered CM/ECF users: Katharine R. Latimer Donald R. McMinn Rebecca Anne Womeldorf Hollingsworth LLP 1350 I Street NW Washington, DC 20005 Telephone: (202) 898-5800 Edward S. Sledge, III Frederick G. Helmsing, Jr. McDowell Knight Roedder and Sledge 11 North Water Street, Suite 13290 Mobile, AL 36602 Telephone: (251) 432-5300 Susan Pedrick McWilliams Nexsen Pruet Jacobs and Pollard P. O. Drawer 2426 Columbia, SC 29202 Telephone: (803) 771-8900

Mary Hughes Cherry Nexsen Pruet (Chas) P. O. Box 486 Charleston, SC 29401 Telephone: (843) 577-1777

/s/ Annesley H. DeGaris ANNESLEY H. DEGARIS CORY, WATSON, CROWDER and DEGARIS 2131 Magnolia Avenue, Suite 200 Birmingham, AL 35205 Telephone: (205) 328-2200 Attorneys for Appellants TIMOTHY PECHLIN AND ROBIN MALLARD HOPPER, AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF LORIE PECHLIN, DECEASED (ESTATE OF LORIE PECHLIN)
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