Favorable Defense Discovery Rulings, Including Preclusion of Treating Physicians from Testifying as Experts

The district court issued two opinions in the same case, issuing various rulings on motions brought by both parties. The plaintiff alleged he developed lung cancer from asbestos exposure while employed by Freeport Sulphur Company, predecessor to Mosaic Global Holdings, Inc. This case started in Louisiana state court, and was removed by Mosaic. The primary rulings on these motions are summarized below.

The plaintiff moved to exclude evidence of settled claims and collateral sources of compensation. The defendants argued that both settlement agreements and collateral …

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Certain Bankruptcy Trust Information Ruled Discoverable in Louisiana

The plaintiff alleged he developed lung cancer due to his asbestos exposure while working on the premises of Freeport’s Port Sulphur facility, other facilities, and various drilling rigs. The defendants removed to federal court on the bases of original jurisdiction under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The plaintiff filed a motion to quash subpoena and notice of records deposition, and a motion for protective order. The court analyzed both at the same time, as both contained substantially the same arguments.

Defendant McCarty Corporation issued …

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Special Master Recommendation Upheld Denying Plaintiff’s Discovery Requests

Plaintiff Lori LoGiudice developed mesothelioma and brought suit, alleging her disease was caused by her use of asbestos-containing Cashmere Bouquet talcum powder made by Colgate-Palmolive. The only other defendants were suppliers of asbestos-containing talc to Colgate. After the Special Master denied certain discovery requests made by the plaintiff, the plaintiff moved for relief. The court affirmed the recommendations made by the Special Master.

At issue was one request for production involving conversations between Dr. Marie Capdevielle and individuals interviewed by her in preparation for her …

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Sanctions Granted Against Defendant for Suspension of Corporate Representative Deposition

The plaintiffs’ brought this action against Electric Boat and General Dynamics for their decedent’s alleged development of mesothelioma as a result of his work as a machinist at the defendants’ shipyards.

The plaintiffs sought depositions of the corporate representatives of both Electric Boat and General Dynamics since Electric Boat operated as a division of General Dynamics during the alleged exposure period. The plaintiffs noticed the deposition of General Dynamics’ corporate representative. General Dynamics objected to the notice and a hearing was promptly held. The court …

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Collateral Estoppel Did Not Bar Petition to Perpetuate Testimony in Federal Court Prior to Filing Suit Due to Key Distinctions Between Federal and Texas Rules of Civil Procedure

The petitioner filed suit against various entities after developing mesothelioma, alleging asbestos exposure while working for Square D in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 1971-76. Due to her extremely bad and rapidly deteriorating health, the petitioner sought a court order authorizing her oral and videotaped deposition for use in her anticipated lawsuit for either personal injury or wrongful death. The court granted her request to perpetuate testimony.

The court analyzed Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 27(a), which establishes the procedure for obtaining a pre-suit deposition to …

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Argument That Plaintiff’s Counsel Misrepresented Return of Privileged Memo Unavailing; Defendant’s Own Actions Waived Privilege

Defendant J-M Manufacturing Company, Inc. moved to vacate the Recommendation of the Special Master finding that J-M waived privilege. In so doing, the defendant argued the Special Master erroneously applied New York law instead of California law in determining that the defendant waived the attorney-client privilege attached to the redacted and unredacted versions of a 1983 memo from the defendant’s in-house counsel to its president. The plaintiff opposed the motion.

In its motion to vacate, J-M argued the memo was first inadvertently produced in a …

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Meeting Agendas Between Non-Party Consultant and Counsel for Asbestos Friction Clients Not Privileged

The plaintiffs’ law firm of Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd, LLC (Maune) subpoenaed documents from Exponent, Inc., a non-party in Maune’s asbestos litigation pending in Madison County, Illinois. At the request of Exponent, the circuit court held Exponent in friendly civil contempt for refusing to provide an unredacted version of certain documents requested in Maune’s subpoena. Exponent appealed this contempt order as well as the underlying discovery order. Exponent argued that the circuit court abused its discretion in requiring production of these documents, because …

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Southern District of Illinois Strikes Portions of Pre-Trial Disclosures Containing Vague, Boilerplate Language; Parties Have No Right to Reserve Use of Un-Named Discovery

In four different rulings in the same case, the Southern District of Illinois struck portions of pre-trial disclosures filed by the plaintiff and various defendants. In their pre-trial disclosures, defendants Ingersoll-Rand, Viking Pumps, and Excelsior identified no witnesses and reserved the right to call numerous un-named witnesses at trial. The plaintiff also reserved the right to call numerous un-named witnesses at trial.

The court cited Rule 26: “Under Rule 26(a)(3), pretrial disclosures must (emphasis added) include: ‘(i) the name and, if not previously provided, the …

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