Special Master’s Recommendation Vacated; Order Permitting Limited Discovery of Co-Defendants to Establish Apportionment Granted

The defendant John Crane (JCI) has been granted limited discovery of co-defendants to establish apportionment of fault. JCI’s request had been denied by the Special Master. However, JCI argued that the Case Management Order (CMO) placed it in an unfair position for trial. The CMO encouraged defendants to use depositions in asbestos litigation from other defendants and permitted a second deposition by stipulation or permission only. According to JCI, these constraints made it impossible for JCI to meet its burden of proof at trial with respect to apportionment of fault for co-defendants. The court agreed. However, the court noted that full discovery was not warranted and limited the parameters to 1) the products co-defendants manufactured 2) the asbestos content of the products 3) whether or not warnings were placed on the products during the relevant time period and 4) information related to trade associations.

Accordingly, the Special Master’s recommendation was vacated.