• April 26, 2011

Plaintiff, from Tennessee, brings a lawsuit against Illinois pharmaceuticals in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.  The Illinois defendants seek to have the case dismissed or transferred.  Plaintiff has no problem at all with transfer — in fact, she welcomes it.  Why?  Why does the Tennessean sue Illinois companies in Minnesota (with Florida lawyers, incidentally), and then happily agree to a transfer of the case . . . to wherever?

Plaintiff’s maneuver is thanks to the “Ferens doctrine” (a 5-4 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling) and Minnesota’s generous six-year statute of limitation. Plaintiff Shirley Venus Shannon sued the case out in Minnesota so she could sue Defendants in 2010 for her alleged personal injury that occurred in 2004 in Tennessee, notwithstanding the fact that her home state of Tennessee has a one-year statute of limitation for such a claim.

Under the Ferens doctrine, it does not matter if her case is then transferred to Illinois or Tennessee.  The Minnesota statute of limitation applies.

Thus, fittingly around Easter, the plaintiff resurrected her case.  Having performed the miracle, her need for a Minnesota forum was gone and so is she, back to the Western District of Tennessee.

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