The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has adopted a recommendation by the federal judge overseeing the Asbestos Products Liability Litigation in Philadelphia to cease transferring tag-along actions originating in seven districts across the country to Pennsylvania.
In an order issued Nov. 21, and signed by panel chairman John G. Heyburn II, the body overseeing MDL cases agreed to stop transferring to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania asbestos cases that are filed in the District of Connecticut; the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York; the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina; and the District of North Dakota.
U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno, who oversees MDL No. 875, the consolidated asbestos docket in Philadelphia, suggested in early October that the panel cease transfer to the centralized proceedings tag-along actions commenced in the aforementioned seven jurisdictions because, with the exception of the District of Connecticut, fewer than 50 cases from each of the named jurisdictions remain pending in the MDL docket.
“With respect to the District of Connecticut, the judge states that most plaintiffs in the actions transferred from that district to that MDL are represented by the same law firm, and that settlement discussions in those actions have been successful in the recent past,” the panel wrote in its order.
“After careful consideration of Judge Robreno’s Suggestion and the record in this extraordinary docket, we adopt and endorse the Suggestion.”
Robreno’s suggestion to the MDL panel also recommended that the only jurisdictions from which tag-along cases should continue to be transferred are the Eastern District of Virginia, where there are 2,421 cases pending; the Seventh Circuit, which includes the Western and Eastern Districts of Wisconsin; the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; and the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois, where there are 238 cases pending; the Northern District of Ohio, including Maritime Docket cases, where there are 3,459 cases pending; and the Northern District of California, where there are 103 cases pending.