MDL Multi-District Court - Asbestos & Silica MDL ruling

mesothelioma lawyer austin texas

Nov 24, 2012 — by Jeff Mundy
Tags: Asbestos

[W]e conclude that the statutes and rules governing multidistrict litigation expressly limit the jurisdiction of courts sitting as pretrial courts in multidistrict litigation. Only qualified cases are subject to transfer to pretrial multidistrict litigation courts, and the scope of authority of pretrial courts over these cases is limited. Specifically, the transfer authorizes the transfer only of "related" civil cases, that is, those cases that involve one or more common questions of fact, from different trial courts to a single pretrial judge where "transfer will (1) serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and (2) promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation." In re Ad Valorem Tax Litig., 216 S.W.3d at 84; see TEX. R. JUD. ADMIN. 13.2(f), 13.3(a), 13.3(l). And, while the pretrial court has exclusive jurisdiction over each case transferred to the multidistrict litigation court, that authority expressly excludes presiding over the trial of the case. See TEX. R. JUD. ADMIN. 13.6(b). 

Given the pretrial court's broad scope of authority over its cases, including the authority to determine jurisdiction, the directive that it "ensure the expeditious resolution of each case and the just and efficient conduct of the litigation as a whole," we conclude that the pretrial court has not only the discretion but also the duty to consider whether or not the underlying case was properly transferred to the multidistrict litigation pretrial court, and could do so at any time during the litigation. See TEX. R. JUD. ADMIN. 13.6(a),(b).

The plaintiff is free to tailor her pleadings to eschew those claims which would mandate one forum instead of another forum for litigation of those well-pleaded claims. See Holmes Group, 535 U.S. at 831.

In re: Champion Industrial Sales LLC, (Tex. App. - Corpus Christi, 2012).

This ruling is important and relates to the law applicable to asbestos, asbestos cancer, and mesothelioma in Texas courts.

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