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Shipyard Defendant Receives Split Rulings on Motions in Robichaux Mesothelioma Matter

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Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

In ACT’s continuing coverage of the Robichaux mesothelioma matter pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana — reported most recently here — before the court were two motions in limine, one filed by plaintiff and one by defendant, Avondale.

First, plaintiffs moved to exclude factual testimony provided by Avondale’s witness Danny Joyce. Plaintiffs argue that Joyce’s testimony was not based on personal knowledge and, as such, Joyce should be excluded as a fact witness. Avondale, however, argued that Joyce was offered as Avondale’s corporate representative, not as a fact or expert witness. The court agreed with Avondale, noting that witnesses who testify as corporate representatives are agents of the corporation and, as such, “testify as to matters within corporate knowledge, not solely matters within the personal knowledge of the corporate representative.”  Accordingly, plaintiffs’ motion was denied.

Second, the motion in limine filed by Avondale, asked the court to order plaintiffs to disclose all settlements into which plaintiffs entered and the identities of the parties with whom plaintiffs settled for purposes of determining virile shares. Plaintiffs responded that they did not oppose the motion to the extent that Avondale sought the identities of parties with whom they settled since the lawsuit began, however, they opposed the motion to the extent that Avondale sought disclosure of additional information. The court ultimately determined that, given plaintiffs’ willingness to provide some or all of the requested information, the motion was moot, and denied it as such. The court further noted that Avondale’s request for information was better addressed in a Motion to Compel, not a motion in limine; however, the discovery period for the case had ended, and the court “[would] not unilaterally reopen discovery under the guise of an evidentiary motion.”

Read the full decision here.