Gazal v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., No. 10–3129.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore WOLLMAN, BYE, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.
Citation647 F.3d 833
Docket NumberNo. 10–3129.
Decision Date28 July 2011
PartiesMaud Ledhagen GAZAL, in her capacity as the legal personal representative of the Estate of Nabil Nasri Gazal, Appellant,v.BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.; Pfizer, Inc.; Pharmacia Corporation; Pharmacia & Upjohn, LLC, Appellees.

647 F.3d 833

Maud Ledhagen GAZAL, in her capacity as the legal personal representative of the Estate of Nabil Nasri Gazal, Appellant,
v.
BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.; Pfizer, Inc.; Pharmacia Corporation; Pharmacia & Upjohn, LLC, Appellees.

No. 10–3129.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

Submitted: May 10, 2011.Filed: July 28, 2011.


[647 F.3d 836]

George W. Vie, III, argued, Adrienne Kvello, on the brief, Houston, TX, for appellant.Scott A. Smith, argued, Minneapolis, MN, for appellees.Jason C. Rose, James E. Gray, on the brief, Baltimore, MD, for appellee Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals.Joseph M. Price, Minneapolis, MN, Michael K. Brown, Steven J. Boranian, Los Angeles, CA, on the brief, for appellees Pfizer, Inc., Pharmacia Corp. and Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, LLC.Before WOLLMAN, BYE, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.

Nabil Gazal filed tort claims and a breach of warranty claim against Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Pfizer, Inc.; Pharmacia Corporation; and Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, LLC (pharmaceutical companies). The district court 1 granted summary judgment to the defendants, see In re Mirapex Products Liability Litigation, 735 F.Supp.2d 1113 (D.Minn.2010), whereupon Gazal filed this appeal. Following Gazal's death, his widow, Maud Ledhagen Gazal, was appointed as the legal representative of his estate to prosecute the appeal. We affirm.

I.

Gazal lived in Australia, where he owned and operated Gazcorp, a successful industrial and retail development corporation, until his death in 2010. In 1999, he began to experience health problems and his doctors suspected that he had Parkinson's disease. Gazal owned property in Texas and decided to seek further treatment at the Baylor College of Medicine's Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic (Baylor) in Houston. In 2002, doctors at Baylor diagnosed Gazal with Parkinson's disease and prescribed Mirapex as part of his treatment. The drug reduced Gazal's symptoms but induced numerous side effects, including anxiety attacks, depression, insomnia, aggression, and claustrophobia. Shortly after beginning his treatment, Gazal began to gamble much more than he had previously, and his losses increased ten-fold. He first mentioned his increased gambling in February 2005 and first reported it to his doctor in April 2005.

[647 F.3d 837]

In July 2005, the Mayo Clinic published a study suggesting a link between Mirapex and compulsive gambling (the Dodd/Mayo study). And, in November 2005 while Gazal was in Australia, one of his doctors suspected that Mirapex might be responsible for his gambling problems. Gazal was hospitalized for two weeks and ceased taking the drug, but renewed use again once he was released. Gazal admitted that at some point in late 2005, he became aware that Mirapex was linked to, and might cause, compulsive gambling.

Gazal wrote to two casinos in Australia in May 2006, requesting that they refuse his business. He asked the same of several acquaintances with whom he had played cards. He continued to gamble, however, and in September 2007, he returned to Baylor and reported that he had lost millions of dollars and was experiencing family problems. His doctors at Baylor renewed his Mirapex prescription, and he continued to gamble.

The first large-scale systematic study of Mirapex and impulse-control disorders, called the Dominion Study, was published in June 2008. It concluded that patients taking Mirapex had a risk of developing a gambling disorder and that the risk was too great to be explained by chance or other causes. A few months after the Dominion Study was published, Gazal checked into a hospital to try again to wean himself off Mirapex, but he resumed taking it once he left the hospital. In May 2009, he succeeded in ceasing his use of the drug. A month later, Gazal filed suit against the pharmaceutical companies in Texas state court.

Gazal alleged a breach of warranty claim, together with a number of tort claims, all of which faulted the pharmaceutical companies for failing to warn him that taking Mirapex could lead to compulsive gambling. Altogether he sought more than $20 million in damages. The pharmaceutical companies removed the case to federal court. In March 2010, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred it to Minnesota as part of the Mirapex Products Liability Multidistrict Litigation.

The pharmaceutical companies moved for summary judgment, contending that Gazal's claims had accrued more than two years before he filed suit and were therefore time-barred. Gazal rejoined that his claims had not accrued until the Dominion Study was published in 2008 and that, in the alternative, the two-year statute of limitations should be tolled under the continuing tort doctrine, the “open courts” provision of the Texas Constitution, the ripeness doctrine, or mental disability.

The district court found that Gazal became aware of his gambling problem no later than 2003 and of the possible link between Mirapex and pathological gambling no later than 2005. It rejected Gazal's accrual theory and the various tolling arguments he set forth, concluded that his claims were time-barred, and granted summary judgment to the pharmaceutical companies on the tort claims. It also dismissed the breach of warranty claim after concluding that Gazal had not given the pharmaceutical companies the required notice before filing the claim.

II.

We review de novo the district court's grant of summary judgment. South Dakota v. U.S. Dep't of Interior, 423 F.3d 790, 794 (8th Cir.2005). Summary judgment is appropriate when the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, presents no genuine issue of material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to

[647 F.3d 838]

return a verdict for either party; a fact is material if its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 252, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

A. Statute of Limitations

Because this suit was removed to federal court under diversity jurisdiction, we apply the substantive law of Texas, including its statutes of limitation. See Walker v. Armco Steel Corp., 446 U.S. 740, 100 S.Ct. 1978, 64 L.Ed.2d 659 (1980). The parties agree that in Texas, a products liability suit must be commenced within...

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  • Fenerjian v. Nongshim Co., Case No. 13–cv–04115–WHO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • November 4, 2014
    ...plaintiff of antitrust violations. See, e.g., Pension Trust Fund, 730 F.3d at 275 ; Gazal v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. , 647 F.3d 833, 838 (8th Cir.2011). Defendants have identified nothing about those announcements that should have alerted plaintiffs about a conspiracy to ......
  • United States v. Hirani, No. 15-1583
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • May 31, 2016
    ...preparation of the Form N–400, that dispute is ultimately neither genuine nor material. See Gazal v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharm., Inc. , 647 F.3d 833, 837–38 (8th Cir. 2011) (“A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either p......
  • Langner v. Bos. Scientific Corp., 8:20CV349
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
    • October 1, 2020
    ...notification is required under § 2-607(3)(a), and jurisdictions are split on the issue. See Gazal v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharm., Inc. , 647 F.3d 833, 841 (8th Cir. 2011) (noting the majority position is to require pre-suit notice for a breach of express warranty claim); In re Bridgestone/F......
  • Allred v. Nickeson (In re James Lee Nickeson SSN/Itin XXX-Xx-8970), Bankr. No. 13-10137
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Eighth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of South Dakota
    • November 25, 2014
    ...genuine issue of fact is material if its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Gazal v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 647 F.3d 833, 838 (8th Cir. 2011) (cite therein). In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court considers the pleadings, the discovery and disclo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
40 cases
  • Fenerjian v. Nongshim Co., Case No. 13–cv–04115–WHO
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • November 4, 2014
    ...plaintiff of antitrust violations. See, e.g., Pension Trust Fund, 730 F.3d at 275 ; Gazal v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. , 647 F.3d 833, 838 (8th Cir.2011). Defendants have identified nothing about those announcements that should have alerted plaintiffs about a conspiracy to ......
  • United States v. Hirani, No. 15-1583
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • May 31, 2016
    ...preparation of the Form N–400, that dispute is ultimately neither genuine nor material. See Gazal v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharm., Inc. , 647 F.3d 833, 837–38 (8th Cir. 2011) (“A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either p......
  • Langner v. Bos. Scientific Corp., 8:20CV349
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
    • October 1, 2020
    ...notification is required under § 2-607(3)(a), and jurisdictions are split on the issue. See Gazal v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharm., Inc. , 647 F.3d 833, 841 (8th Cir. 2011) (noting the majority position is to require pre-suit notice for a breach of express warranty claim); In re Bridgestone/F......
  • Allred v. Nickeson (In re James Lee Nickeson SSN/Itin XXX-Xx-8970), Bankr. No. 13-10137
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Eighth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — District of South Dakota
    • November 25, 2014
    ...genuine issue of fact is material if its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Gazal v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 647 F.3d 833, 838 (8th Cir. 2011) (cite therein). In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court considers the pleadings, the discovery and disclo......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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