By Kimberly Strawbridge Robinson
The U.S. Supreme Court seemed likely to restrict the reach of state courts in two cases argued April 25 ( BNSF Ry. Co. v. Tyrrell, U.S., No. 16-405 , argued 4/25/17 ; Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court for the Cty. of San Francisco, U.S., No. 16-466 , argued 4/25/17 ).
In one, pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. wants the Supreme Court to toss several California cases relating to the company’s billion dollar blood thinner Plavix. In the other, railroad titan BNSF Railway Co. wants the court to throw out two workplace injury suits pending in Montana.
The defendant businesses in both cases say the plaintiffs chose those particular states because they are “plaintiff-friendly” forums, not because of any special relationship the states have with either the defendants or the events giving rise to the cases.