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Pharmaceutical Care Management Association v. District of Columbia et al

July 12, 2011

PHARMACEUTICAL CARE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

: Re Document Nos.: 93, 95

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GRANTING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DISMISS WITHOUT PREJUDICE; DENYING THE DEFENDANTS'MOTION TO DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the court on the plaintiff's motion to dismiss its remaining claims without prejudice and the defendants' motion to dismiss the remaining claims with prejudice. The plaintiff, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, brought suit against the District of Columbia and its mayor. The plaintiff alleges that a District of Columbia law that aimed to regulate a sector of the pharmaceutical industry violated the constitutional rights of the plaintiff's organizational members and impermissibly intruded upon an area of federal regulation. Having recently received a favorable ruling by the Circuit on its preemption claim, the plaintiff now moves to dismiss its remaining constitutional claims without prejudice. The defendants move to dismiss the plaintiff's remaining claims with prejudice. Because the plaintiff's motion satisfies the prerequisites of Rule 41(a)(2), the court grants the plaintiff's motion and denies the defendants' motion.

II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The plaintiff is a national trade association that represents various businesses known as pharmaceutical benefits managers ("PBMs"). Compl. ¶ 8. PBMs act as intermediaries between health benefit providers and the 200 million Americans who receive prescription drugs through their health plans. Id.

In 2004, the D.C. Council passed the Access Rx Act. See generally D.C. CODE §§ 48-832.01 et seq. Title II of the Access Rx Act imposed various fiduciary and disclosure duties on PBMs. Mem. Op. (Dec. 21, 2004) at 2. Following passage of the Access Rx Act, the plaintiff commenced this action, alleging that Title II of the Access Rx Act violated a number of statutory and constitutional provisions. See generally Compl. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that Title II impermissibly intruded upon an area of federal regulation and that Title II otherwise ran afoul of the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause, the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment. Id.

¶¶ 27-66.

Following a series of procedural twists and turns,*fn1 this court granted in part the plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment on the grounds that federal law preempted Title II. See generally Mem. Op. (Mar. 19, 2009). The defendants appealed, and the Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that federal law indeed preempted certain provisions of the Access Rx Act. See generally Pharm. Care Mgmt. Ass'n v. District of Columbia, 613 F.3d 179 (D.C. Cir. 2010). Nevertheless, the Circuit held that several other provisions of the Act were not similarly displaced by federal law. Id. at 186. The Circuit remanded to allow this court to adjudicate the plaintiff's remaining constitutional claims. Id. at 190.

In the wake of the Circuit's ruling, the plaintiff has filed its current motion to dismiss its remaining claims without prejudice. See generally Pl.'s Mot. to Dismiss Without Prejudice ("Pl.'s Mot."). The defendants filed an opposition, see generally Defs.' Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. to Dismiss Without Prejudice ("Defs.' Opp'n"), and a contemporaneous motion to dismiss the remaining claims with prejudice, see generally Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss with Prejudice ("Defs.' Mot."). With these motions now ripe for review, the court turns to the parties' arguments and the relevant legal standards.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard to Dismiss Under Rule 41(a)*fn2 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a) governs voluntary dismissal of an action. FED. R. CIV. P. 41(a)(1). Under Rule 41(a)(2), "an action shall not be dismissed at the plaintiff's instance save upon order of the court and upon such terms and conditions as the court deems proper."

FED. R. CIV. P. 41(a)(2); Taragan v. Eli Lilly & Co., 838 F.2d 1337, 1339 (D.C. Cir. 1988). Dismissals under Rule 41(a)(2) "generally [are] granted in the federal courts unless the defendant would suffer prejudice other than the prospect of a second lawsuit or some tactical disadvantage." Conafay v. Wyeth Labs., 793 F.2d 350, 353 (D.C. Cir. 1986); see also 9 FED. PRAC. & PROC. 2d ยง 2364. A court applying Rule 41(a)(2) therefore must consider whether the plaintiff seeks the motion for voluntary dismissal in good faith, and whether the dismissal would cause the defendant "legal prejudice" based on factors such as any excessive delay or lack of diligence by the plaintiff in prosecuting ...


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