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.

In re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation

United States District Court, Third Circuit

August 26, 2013

IN RE ASBESTOS PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION (No. VI)
v.
VARIOUS DEFENDANTS BARTEL, ET AL.

Certain cases on the 02-md-875 Maritime Docket (MARDOC), listed in the attached exhibits.

MEMORANDUM

EDUARDO C. ROBRENO, J.

I. INTRODUCTION .............................................. 2

II. LEGAL STANDARD ............................................6

A. Motions to Dismiss based on Lack of Personal Jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(2).....................6

B. Motions to Dismiss based on Improper Service under Rule 4(h)............................................6

III. DISCUSSION ................................................7

A. Motions to Dismiss based on Lack of Personal Jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(2).....................7

1. History.........................................7

2. Arguments by the Parties.......................10

3. Relevant Law, Application & Analysis...........13

i. Personal Jurisdiction over Non-Resident Defendants under Ohio Law......................13

a. There is no personal jurisdiction over defendants......................16

b. Defendants did not waive the personal jurisdiction defense........18

ii. MDL Court May Not Transfer Cases...........21

B. Motions to Dismiss based on Improper Service under Rule 4 ..............................................25

1. Arguments by the Parties.......................25

2. Relevant Law, Application & Analysis..........29

IV. CONCLUSION ...............................................31

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court are 565 motions to dismiss[1] in cases that are part of MDL 875, the consolidated asbestos products liability multidistrict litigation pending in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The cases are on the MDL’s maritime docket (“MARDOC”).[2]

Beginning in the mid-1980’s, the Jaques Admiralty Law Firm[3] began filing cases in the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of merchant marines who were alleged to have been injured from exposure to asbestos-containing products located aboard commercial vessels. Named as defendants were manufacturers and suppliers of the accused products, and the shipowners themselves. Typically, each case named upwards of 100 defendants. Ultimately, by the year 2009, more than 50, 000 cases had been filed involving millions of claims against hundreds of defendants.

The cases initially progressed in the Northern District of Ohio under the superintendencey of Judge Thomas Lambros. Because the claims fell within the admiralty jurisdiction of the court, they were administratively assigned to a maritime docket, titled “MARDOC.” See In re Am. Captial Equip., LLC, 688 F.3d 145, 149 (3d Cir. 2012). In 1991, the cases were consolidated and transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as part of MDL 875 and assigned to Judge Charles Weiner. Id. In May of 1996, Judge Weiner administratively dismissed the cases then pending, finding that the claimants had “‘provide[d] no real medical or exposure history, ’ and had been unable to do so for months.” Id. (quoting In re Asbestos Prods. Liab. Litig. (No. VI), No. 2 MDL 875, 1996 WL 239863, at *1-2 (E.D. Pa. May 2, 1996)).

The MDL Court, however, allowed that any asymptomatic case could be reactivated if a plaintiff became impaired and could produce satisfactory evidence of “an asbestos-related personal injury compensable under the law” and “probative evidence of exposure[.]” Id. (quoting In re Asbestos Prods. Liab. Litig. (No. VI), 1996 WL 239863, at *5). Judge Weiner continued to preside over the cases until his passing in 2005.

In 2005, Judge James Giles was designated to preside over MARDOC (along with the land docket in MDL 875), where he remained until his resignation from the bench in 2008.

In October, 2008, Judge Eduardo Robreno, the undersigned, was appointed to succeed Judge Giles, and he has presided over the MARDOC docket since that date.

Over at least the past 25 years, the MARDOC litigation has reached Dickensian proportions. Plaintiffs have passed away; memories have faded; corporations have filed for bankruptcy; the legislature has enacted new laws; lawyers have come and gone, and so have judicial officers. The one constant in this scenario is that the MARDOC docket has grown in numbers, complexity and scope.

Now, some 25 years later, the Court, with the assistance of counsel, is called upon to divine the meaning of less-than-pellucid orders entered long ago by prior courts, and to disentangle the parties from a web of procedural knots that have thwarted the progress of this litigation.

With this background in mind, the Court turns to the adjudication of important threshold issues. One, does the Court have personal jurisdiction over the defendants? Two, was service of process upon defendants improper?

For the reasons outlined below, the 418 motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction listed in Exhibit “A, ” attached, will be granted, and the defendants who filed the motions will be dismissed from the cases.

As to the 147 motions to dismiss due to improper service of process listed in Exhibit “B, ” ...


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.