Jon Campisi Jun. 27, 2012, 7:32am

A federal judge sitting in Philadelphia has ordered an asbestos case that was transferred

from the District Court in Connecticut to be referred to a magistrate judge who will handle pretrial issues.

In a June 25 order, U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, referred the case of Choate et al. v. General Electric Co. to U.S. Magistrate Judge David R. Strawbridge, who will conduct pretrial procedures, supervise discovery, preside over settlement conferences and generally prepare the case for trial.

The case was transferred from the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to the federal courthouse in Philadelphia. It was consolidated under the multidistrict asbestos products liability litigation being handled at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The judicial order states that Strawbridge can impose sanctions and/or costs against any party not in compliance with the order.

The plaintiff in the case, Robert Choate, is suing General Electric Co., CBS Corp. and Air & Liquid Systems Corp., which is successor to Buffalo Pumps Inc.

Choate claims he contracted asbestos-related injuries during his time working around products containing the fiber.

The specifics of the complaint were not immediately available.

The court docket shows that Judge Robreno initially dismissed the case on June 25 for lack of prosecution, but that order was followed the next day by an order vacating that previous order, stating the case was closed in error.

The docket further shows that a status and scheduling conference was scheduled to take place on June 22 regarding the status of the case.

Choate is being represented by Groton, Conn. attorney Amity L. Arscott of the firm Embry & Neusner.

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