Submitted: October 16, 2018
from United States District Court for the District of
Minnesota - Minneapolis
SMITH, Chief Judge, LOKEN and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.
is a dopamine agonist that is FDA-approved for treating
adults with Parkinson's disease and movement disorders.
On December 30, 2010, Marc Mancini filed this action against
the defendant pharmaceutical companies, alleging they are
liable for substantial gambling and other financial losses
that resulted from obsessive compulsive behavior, a side
effect of taking Mirapex. The action was filed in the
District of Minnesota as part of the multi-district Mirapex
Products Liability Litigation. Mancini appeals the district
court's grant of summary judgment dismissing all
claims as barred by the applicable California statute of
limitations. He argues the district court erred in not
tolling the statute of limitations because he was
"insane" and in rejecting his "continuing
violations" theory, issues we review de novo,
and abused its discretion in denying his motion to stay
defendants' motion for summary judgment pending
discovery. We affirm.
is a resident of California and a successful educator and
travel industry speaker and consultant. In June 2004, doctors
noted symptoms consistent with mild idiopathic
Parkinson's disease. In January 2006, Dr. Mark Lew,
Mancini's treating neurologist, prescribed Mirapex to
treat worsening symptoms.
January 3, 2008, Mancini reported to Dr. Lew that he
experienced increased gambling and other compulsive behaviors
after taking Mirapex. Dr. Lew's notes stated that Mancini
reported "gambling and winning but not
excessively." Dr. Lew informed Mancini of a possible
association between Mirapex and compulsive behaviors such as
gambling. On April 23, 2008, Mancini again reported gambling
and other compulsive behaviors. Dr. Lew's notes from this
visit stated that Mancini "has increasing stress at
work" and "has become a bit more compulsive."
"He tells me that this is controlled, and he does not
have any significant problems," Dr. Lew wrote, "but
with the stress, he has noted the compulsions to be a bit
more intense. On occasion he . . . described it as
'driving a car without brakes.'" Dr. Lew told
Mancini he had "substantial and significant
concerns" about Mancini's gambling and impulsive
behavior. "We talked about the potential of simply
cutting back on his Mirapex . . . . Currently he is quite
resistant to this. He will return to see me in 3 months'
continued to take Mirapex until mid-July 2010, when his
family learned of substantial debts resulting from gambling.
Three days after stopping Mirapex, Mancini saw Dr. Lew, who
noted worsening tremors but advised that Mancini "needs
to stay off his Mirapex" and turn to other
"therapeutic options." Dr. Lew's notes stated
that "every visit I have had since [Mancini] has been on
Mirapex for better than 5 years, we discuss[ed] the potential
for compulsive behaviors, and he flat out denied any
reviewing whether Mancini's claims are time-barred,
important issues are not disputed. The parties agree that
California law governs the statute of limitations issue, and
that California's two year statute of limitations for
personal injury claims resulting from the ingestion of
pharmaceutical drugs applies. See Cal. Code Civ. P.
§§ 335.1, 340.8(a). The district court found, and
Mancini does not dispute on appeal, that his claims initially
accrued no later than April 23, 2008, because he suspected or
should have suspected that he had been wronged by defendants
as a result of his visits to Dr. Lew in January and April
2008. Thus, the claims filed in December 2010 appear to be
time-barred. But Mancini argues the district court erred in
granting summary judgment because the statute of limitations
was tolled until July 2010, and because continuing violations
are not time-barrred.
The Tolling Issue.
relevant here, section 352(a) of the California Code of Civil
Procedure provides that, "[i]f a person entitled to
bring an action . . . is, at the time the cause of action
accrued . . . insane, the time of the disability is not part
of the time limited for the commencement of the
action." Consistent with the statute's plain
language, it applies even if the plaintiff's insanity is
caused by the wrongful act of the defendant. See Feeley
v. S. Pac. Transp. Co., 285 Cal.Rptr. 666, 667 (Cal.App.
1991). Thus, if Mancini was "insane" within the
meaning of § 352(a) when his claim accrued in early
2008, the two-year statute of limitations would be tolled,
presumably until he stopped taking Mirapex in July 2010.
Mancini argues the district court erred in granting
defendants summary judgment on this issue.
statute, first enacted in 1872, does not define the word
"insane." In an early case, the Supreme Court of
California affirmed a jury verdict that the plaintiff ...