3rd Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Asbestos Exposure Claims Against Segal McCambridge Clients


October 29, 2013

CHICAGO, IL - A recent opinion by the United States Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of asbestos exposure claims against two Segal McCambridge clients involved in multidistrict litigation (In Re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, et al., George L. Conner, Appellant, No. 12-3823, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 21025.). The Third Circuit’s opinion held that while an administrative order's broad language could support asbestos plaintiffs' interpretation, there was no reason to overturn the District Court’s 2011 conclusion that the order requires submission of asbestos exposure histories. Segal McCambridge shareholders Jason Kennedy, Timothy Krippner, Jonathan Lively, and Adam Jagadich and associates Jill Felkins, Emily Zapotocny, Brian Hogan, and Mark Sampson were all involved in the appeal.

In November 2011, Judge Eduardo C. Robreno dismissed numerous plaintiffs from the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for failure to comply with Administrative Order 12 (AO12). AO12 requires submission of a medical diagnosis supporting an individual's claim. Judge Robreno found that while AO12 did not specifically require submission of sufficient exposure history, screening for asbestos-related disease did require such evidence.

Judge Robreno denied motions for reconsideration, and the plaintiffs appealed. In affirming the district court’s decision, a panel of the Third Circuit said the language of AO12 informed Judge Robreno's ruling.

"While the broad language of AO12 could support other interpretations, we find no reason not to defer to the district court's interpretation of its own order requiring plaintiffs to submit asbestos exposure history," the panel said.

The court also rejected plaintiffs' challenge to dismissal of their claims with prejudice, stating that Judge Robreno properly considered all the relevant factors and thus did not abuse his discretion in dismissing the cases with prejudice.

Judge D. Michael Fisher wrote the unpublished opinion for the court, joined by Judges Thomas I. Vanaskie and Patty Shwartz.