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In re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation

April 30, 2009

IN RE: ASBESTOS PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION (NO. VI)


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, J.

MDL DOCKET No. 875

THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO ALL ACTIONS

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

MDL no. 875 involves claims relating to personal injuries allegedly caused by asbestos products. In 1991, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (the "Panel") transferred and consolidated these cases in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as MDL 875. According to the January 1, 2009 Panel report, there were 58,625 cases, encompassing 3.3 million claims, pending in MDL 875.*fn1

To manage this complex case, over the course of the litigation, the Court has issued 17 administrative orders. To complement this administrative architecture, the presiding Judicial Officer has instituted several new policies and procedures*fn2 that expanded upon the case management system put in place by Judge Weiner and Judge Giles.*fn3 As a result, a significant number of pending claims have been resolved in the past several months.*fn4 Plaintiffs' motion requests amendments to six of these administrative orders. For the reasons set forth below,*fn5 the Court declines to adopt Plaintiffs' proposed amendments.

II. DISCUSSION OF THE MERITS

A. Procedure for Remand of Appropriate Cases to Transferor District Courts

Plaintiffs' first request that the Court remand: (1) the 151 malignancy cases listed in Exhibit "J" of their motion; and (2) any case in which a motion for remand has already been filed. (Pls. Mot. at 17, Ex. J.) This request for a wholesale remand does not include specific information regarding the circumstances or procedural status of any individual case. The motion simply lists the respective Plaintiff's name, civil action number, case style and disease. (Id. at Ex. J.) Previously, the Court declined a similar wholesale disposition of cases suggested by defendants in connection with enforcement of Administrative Order no. 12. In re: Asbestos Prods. Liab. Litig. (No. VI), 254 F.R.D. 266, 268 (E.D. Pa. 2008).

Remanding cases to the transferor court at an early date remains an important administrative goal of the Court. Remand of individual cases, however, should occur only in a manner consistent with the goal of the efficient administration of the case,*fn6 and in the interest of justice in the individual case being remanded.*fn7 In order to promote these goals the Court will implement a procedure whereby requests for a suggestion of remand in individual cases may be brought to the attention of the Court.*fn8

By order on this day, the Court will issue Administrative Order no. 18, which provides that Plaintiffs may file a motion requesting the entry of a suggestion of remand with the Court. This motion must include, at a minimum, the following information:

1.) The civil action number of the case in the district where it was originally filed;

2.) The civil action number of the case in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, if the case has been assigned an ...


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