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In re Patenaude

Citation: 30 ELR 20553
No. No. 99-1540, 210 F.3d 135/(3d Cir., 04/11/2000)

The court denies petitions brought by three groups of individuals seeking to remand their claims for personal injury and wrongful death damages due to asbestos exposure. The petitioners' claims initially were filed in Georgia, New York, and Oregon, but were transferred to a multidistrict litigation in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania under 28 U.S.C. § 1407(a). The petitioners wanted their cases to be remanded to the original transferor courts. The court first holds that only those petitioners who actually sought suggestion of remand from the transferee court have demonstrated that there are no other adequate means to attain the desired relief. The petitioners who failed to seek a suggestion of remand have a practical but untried avenue for relief available to them. The fact that others have had their requests for suggestions of remand go unanswered does not make such requests futile. The court next holds that the remaining petitioners failed to demonstrate they have a clear and indisputable right to remand. Only coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings that have concluded may be remanded. Because individual settlement negotiations are ongoing in the petitioners' individual cases, and because the transferee court is conducting discovery on overlapping issues that affect many asbestos cases, coordinated pretrial proceedings have not yet concluded. The court, therefore, denies the petitioners' writ of mandamus.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (18 pp., ELR Order No. L-215).

Counsel for Petitioners
Steven R. Baughman
Baron & Budd
3102 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 1100, Dallas TX 75219
(214) 521-3605

Counsel for Respondents
Elizabeth R. Geise
Shea & Gardner
1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20036
(202) 828-2000