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Bristol-Myers' appeal in US top court may determine where companies are sued

The U.S. Supreme Court said it would hear Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s appeal against a California ruling in August 2016. According to Reuters, the outcome of the appeal could determine where companies can be sued.

The California Supreme Court said in 2016 that it could preside over cases against the company's Plavix treatment that was filed by 84 state and 575 nonstate residents in 2012. The drug is distributed by McKesson Corp., which is also a defendant in the legal actions.

The court asserted jurisdiction based on Bristol-Myers' marketing campaign in California that generated about $1 billion in sales. Companies typically can be sued in a state where they are headquartered or incorporated, as well as where they have significant ties.

The plaintiffs alleged that the blood thinner increased the risk of stroke, heart attack and internal bleeding. However, industry groups and Bristol-Myers argue that the ruling allows plaintiffs to file lawsuits in states with favorable laws rather than where the company is based or where an alleged injury occurred.

Bristol-Myers is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York.