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Freeman v. Wyeth

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 13, 2014

Patricia Freeman, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Wyeth; Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Defendants - Appellees

Submitted May 23, 2014.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock.

For Patricia Freeman, Plaintiff - Appellant: Nicholas I. Timko, Kahn & Gordon, New York, NY.

For Wyeth, Wyeth Pharmacceuticals, Inc., Defendants - Appellees: Tanya Marie Abrams, Frank Lane Heard III, Williams & Connolly, Washington, DC; Eric Matthew Falkenberty, Heidi L. Levine, Dla Piper, New York, NY.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, MELLOY and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 807

MELLOY, Circuit Judge.

Patricia Freeman was a plaintiff in a multidistrict litigation (" MDL" ) suit brought against Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and related entities (collectively, " Wyeth" ). The district court[1] dismissed Freeman's case for failure to prosecute and later denied her motion to reconsider. We affirm.

In early 2009, Freeman sued Wyeth in New York state court, alleging that she developed breast cancer after using Wyeth's hormone therapy medication, Prempro. Wyeth timely removed the case to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Shortly

Page 808

thereafter, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the case to the Eastern District of Arkansas as part of the ongoing In re Prempro Products Liability Litigation, 254 F.Supp.2d 1366, created in 2003.

The clerk of court for the Eastern District of Arkansas opened an individual docket for Freeman's case on May 12, 2009. The next day, the clerk filed in Freeman's docket a memorandum that contained important information (the " transfer memorandum" ) regarding the MDL's use of the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (" CM-ECF" ) system. Relevant to this appeal, the transfer memorandum instructed Freeman's attorney as follows:

Attorneys are required to electronically file documents in the Prempro Products Liability Litigation (MDL 1507) and all related cases, absent unusual circumstances. If you have not previously registered for electronic filing in the Eastern District of Arkansas, you must complete the enclosed Electronic Case Filing Registration Form and submit it to the Clerk's office. Attorneys who do not register for electronic filing will not receive notices of ...

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