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Plaintiffs' Motion for Asbestos Case Consolidation and Adoption of Trial Plan

Plaintiffs' Motion for Asbestos Case Consolidation and Adoption of Trial Plan

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Published by Kirk Hartley

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Published by: Kirk Hartley on Jun 21, 2012
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06/21/2012

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Special exposure personal injury asbestos cases involve those cases where it is allegedthat Plaintiffs were only exposed to asbestos-containing dust generated as a result of thehandling, removal and use of nontraditional asbestos-containing products.IN RE:BALTIMORE CITYPERSONAL INJURYASBESTOS CASESPROPOSED CONSOLIDATIONIN THECIRCUIT COURTFORBALTIMORE CITYCT-1, CT-2, CT-4, CT-5 CASESCASE NO.: 24X87048500
PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR ASBESTOS CASE CONSOLIDATION ANDADOPTION OF TRIAL PLAN“CONSOLIDATION III”
Now come the Plaintiffs, represented by the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, P.C.(“Angelos”), and, pursuant to Maryland Rules 2-311 and 2-503(a), hereby move this HonorableCourt for an Order to Consolidate for Discovery, Trial and Subsequent “Mini-Trials” the hereindescribed pending Angelos personal injury asbestos cases. In support, Plaintiffs state as follows:1.The Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, P.C. represents more than 13,000 Plaintiffswho have pending cases docketed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, all of whom allegeasbestos-related personal injuries and that do not involve either a diagnosis of malignantmesothelioma, allegations of asbestos/smoking synergy causation or allegations of special exposure
1
.2.This Motion and the Supporting Memorandum with “Consolidation III” trial planrequest an Order that will consolidate for discovery and trial the pending non-mesothelioma, non-synergy causation, and non-special exposure personal injury asbestos cases represented by Angelos
 
2in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Plaintiffs’ proposal identifies cases that will be tried toverdict on common issues in contemplation of subsequent “damages mini-trials” in conjunctionwith illustrative “Trial Plaintiff” cases that will be tried to verdict on all liability, damages andpunitive damages issues.3.The pending cases affected by this Motion and Supporting Memorandum are pendingcases now docketed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City that include:A.Allegations of asbestos-related disease such as asbestosis, pleural plaque, andpleural thickening; andB.Allegations of asbestos-related cancers and malignancies includingrespiratory system cancer, upper and lower gastrointestinal system cancer,head, neck and throat cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer and relatedmetastatic processes.4.Excluded from “Consolidation III” are cases with:A.Allegations of malignant mesothelioma;B.Allegations of synergy respiratory system cancer cases that involve cigaretteand/or tobacco industry defendants; andC.Allegations of special exposure.5.Personal injury asbestos litigation is a mature mass tort. Issues common to allasbestos cases have undergone discovery, litigation and trial in Maryland and particularly BaltimoreCity Circuit Court over the past thirty years. The common issues include “state of the art”, productidentification, product asbestos fiber release, product defect, and certain product liability proofs thatare described more fully in Plaintiffs’ Supporting Memorandum.6.The Circuit Court for Baltimore City has previously consolidated groups of Angelospersonal injury asbestos cases, including the “Consolidation I”
Godwin
consolidation that involved
 
3more than 8,000 cases.
See
 
 ACandS, Inc. v. Godwin
, 340 Md. 334, 402 (1995); the “ConsolidationII”
 Abate
consolidation and cross-claim consolidation that involved nearly 10,000 cases.
See ACandS, Inc. v. Abate
, 121 Md. App. 590 (1998),
cert. denied 
, 350 Md. 487 (1998),
cert 
.
denied 
,525 U.S. 1171, 119 S.Ct. 1096 (1999), and hundreds of cases resolved via consolidated trial and“damages mini-trial” groupings that involved up to 25 cases each.7.The proposed trial plan is described more fully in Plaintiffs’ SupportingMemorandum.8.Consistent with the practice of “Consolidation II”, in order to illustrate diseaseprocesses, exposure, causation and damages, Plaintiffs’ counsel proposes that fifteen illustrative,trial Plaintiff cases be selected by Plaintiffs’ counsel from among the group of more than 13,000cases that will be tried to verdict and final judgments on questions of asbestos exposure, defendantliability, damages and punitive damages.9.Exhaustive discovery has been undertaken and completed in numerous asbestos casesinvolving asbestos products, asbestos state-of-the-art, the asbestos-exposed trades and jobsiteasbestos exposures. Plaintiffs propose adoption of discovery in the consolidated cases that willrelieve the parties of the substantial burden of repetitive continuing discovery of common issues inasbestos cases. Plaintiffs’ discovery proposal is described more fully in Plaintiffs’ SupportingMemorandum.10.Consistent with the practice of “Consolidation II”, Plaintiff-specific discovery shouldbe limited to non-duplicative discovery of the fifteen illustrative, trial Plaintiff cases. All otherPlaintiff-specific discovery should be reserved for “mini-trial” phases of the trial.11.“Consolidation IIIwill include cases that, if litigated and tried separately or in

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