Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Various Plaintiffs v. Various Defendants

February 14, 2012

VARIOUS PLAINTIFFS
v.
VARIOUS DEFENDANTS



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

CONSOLIDATED UNDER

Transferred from the District of North Dakota : : Case Nos.: See Exhibit A (attached hereto)

MEMORANDUM

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. BACKGROUND............................................... 2

II. LEGAL STANDARD........................................... 3

A. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD........................... 3

B. THE APPLICABLE LAW.................................. 4

C. PRODUCT IDENTIFICATION/CAUSATION UNDER NORTH DAKOTA LAW................................................. 4

III. DISCUSSION...............................................

A. DEFENDANT'S ARGUMENT................................ 8 B. PLAINTIFFS' ARGUMENTS............................... 8 C. ANALYSIS............................................11

IV. CONCLUSION...............................................21

Before the Court are Motions for Summary Judgment in nineteen (19) various cases originating in North Dakota, all of which are part of MDL-875, the consolidated asbestos products liability multidistrict litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Defendant Foster Wheeler Corporation ("Foster Wheeler") has moved for summary judgment in each case on grounds of insufficient evidence.

I. BACKGROUND

The "Amoco Cases" were transferred from the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1992 (single plaintiff cases) and 1993 (multi- plaintiff action on behalf of sixty-six (66) different plaintiffs), where they were administratively consolidated for pre-trial purposes as part of MDL-875.

Each of the decedents in these cases ("Decedents") worked at the same Amoco refinery in Mandan, North Dakota and was thereafter diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Defendant Foster Wheeler built a 140-foot high Alkylation unit at the Mandan Amoco refinery in 1957. Defendant Foster Wheeler has moved for summary judgment in many of the "Amoco Cases," arguing that there is insufficient product identification evidence to support a finding of causation with respect to its product(s).*fn1 Foster Wheeler asserts that North Dakota law applies.

Plaintiffs in nineteen (19) of the cases (listed in Exhibit A, attached hereto) have opposed Foster Wheeler's motions, contending that summary judgment is not warranted because there is sufficient circumstantial evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that their Decedent's asbestos- related illness was caused by exposure to Foster Wheeler's product(s). Plaintiffs assert that North Dakota law applies.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). "A motion for summary judgment will not be defeated by 'the mere existence' of some disputed facts, but will be denied when there is a genuine issue of material fact." Am. Eagle Outfitters v. Lyle & Scott Ltd., 584 F.3d 575, 581 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-248 (1986)). A fact is "material" if proof of its existence or non-existence might affect the outcome of the litigation, and a dispute is "genuine" if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In undertaking this analysis, the court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. "After making all reasonable inferences in the nonmoving party's favor, there is a genuine issue of material fact if a reasonable jury could find for the nonmoving party." Pignataro v. Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J., 593 F.3d 265, 268 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Reliance Ins. Co. v. Moessner, 121 F.3d 895, 900 (3d Cir. 1997)). While the moving party bears the initial burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, meeting this obligation shifts the burden to the non-moving party who must "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.

B. The Applicable Law

The parties have all agreed that North Dakota substantive law applies. Therefore, this Court will apply North Dakota law in deciding Foster Wheeler's Motions for Summary Judgment. See Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938); see also Guaranty Trust Co. v. York, 326 U.S. 99, 108 (1945). C. Product Identification/Causation Under North Dakota Law This Court has previously addressed the issue of product identification/causation under North Dakota law and has thoroughly explored the contours of that state's law. See, e.g., Various Plaintiffs v. Various Defendants (In Re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation), 2010 WL 3397473 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 26, 2010)(Robreno, J.)(adopting the July 30, 2010 Report and Recommendation of Chief Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Rueter regarding summary ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.