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In re Asbestos Litigation

Supreme Court of Montana

February 6, 2018

IN RE ASBESTOS LITIGATION, Consolidated Cases.

          Roger M. Sullivan, Allan M. McGarvey, Jon L. Heberling, John F. Lacey, Ethan Aubrey Welder, Dustin Alan Richard Leftridge, Jeffrey R. Kuchel, Danielle A.R. Coffman, Robert J. Sewell, Elizabeth M. Sorenson Brotten, Gary M. Zadick, Kathryn Kohn Troldahl, Jon Mark Moyers, Steven Scott Schulte, Gerry P. Fagan, Thomas C. Bancroft, G. Patrick HagEstad, Rachel Hendershot Parkin, Kirk D. Evenson, Mark Andrew Thieszen, Patrick M. Sullivan, Mark S. Williams, Peter Babbel Ivins, Jennifer Marie Studebaker, Joshua Alexander Leggett, Vernon M. McFarland, Jean Elizabeth Faure, Jason Trinity Holden, Elizabeth L. Hausbeck, Justin K. Cole, Leah Tracy Handelman, Chad E. Adams, J. Daniel Hoven, W. Scott Mitchell, Brianne McClafferty, Steven Robert Milch, Joe C. Maynard, Katie Rose Ranta, Ryan T. Heuwinkel, John Eric Bohyer, John Patrick Davis, Stephen Dolan Bell, Dan R. Larsen, Peter L. Helland, Kelly Gallinger, Richard Allan Payne, Jack G. Connors, Mark Smith, Susan G. Ridgeway, Jill Melissa Gerdrum, T. Thomas Singer, Charles J. Seifert, Chad M. Knight, Anthony Michael Nicastro, Nadia Hafeez Patrick, Robert J. Phillips, Emma Laughlin Mediak, Robert L. Nowels, Daniel Jordan Auerbach, Leo Sean Ward, Robert B. Pfennigs, Rick A. Regh, Mark Trevor Wilson, Robert M. Murd, Murry Warhank, Ben A. Snipes, Mark M. Kovacich, Ross Thomas Johnson, Randy J. Cox, Zachary Aaron Franz, Thomas J. Leonard, M. Covey Morris, Robert J. Sullivan, Dale R. Cockrell, Vaughn A. Crawford, Tracy H. Fowler, Bob Fain, Ronald L. Hellbusch, Leslie Ann Budewitz, Rexford L. Palmer, Jon P. Parrington, Martin S. King, Maxon R. Davis, Geoffrey R. Keller, Tom L. Lewis, Fredric A. Bremseth, Keith Edward Ekstrom, William Rossbach, Kennedy C. Ramos, Edward J. Longosz, Michael Crill, Michael D. Plachy, Conor A. Flanigan, Christopher S. Marks, Walter G. Watkins.

          ORDER THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO ALL CASES

          Amy Eddy, Asbestos Claims Court Judge.

         This matter came before the Court for a hearing on February 20, 2018. The Court had previously ordered that in advance of the February 20, 2018, hearing the parties were to do the following:

(1) Negotiate the contents of the Plaintiff's Fact Sheet. The Plaintiff's Fact Sheet will ultimately be provided for each Plaintiff to assist in gathering medical records, employment and earning records, information related to exposure, and other relevant information. While not a substitute for formal discovery, the Court anticipates the Plaintiff's Fact Sheet to be a robust disclosure of information to assist in organization, settlement and trial of these actions.
(2) Negotiate standard discovery requests and/or initial discovery disclosures.
(3) Negotiate and identify at least three separate test cases to be scheduled for trial.
If the parties cannot agree on the above matters, the Court will resolve them at or immediately following the hearing.

Order, pp. 2-3, ¶VIII(A), dated February 6, 2018.

         Suffice to say, only a half-hearted attempt, at best, was made by counsel to comply with the above directive. Accordingly, the Court hereby ORDERS as follows:

         (1) Plaintiff's Fact Sheets: On or before February 22, 2018, the parties shall email the most current version of their respective Plaintiff's Fact Sheet to Tammy.Peterson@mt.gov;

         (2) Master Discovery: The purpose of developing master discovery requests is to set the appropriate scope of initial discovery in a manner that provides for the seamless and expeditious exchange of initial information, with as little conflict as possible. Accordingly:

(a) Master Discovery Requests shall be limited to 30 interrogatories and 30 requests for production;
(b) On or before February 23, 2018, the Plaintiffs shall file their proposed Master Discovery Requests to each primary Defendant (State of Montana, BNSF Railroad, International Paper, etc.). The Defendants shall have until March 2, 2018, to file any objection. The Plaintiffs shall have until March 9, 2018, to file any response to an objection. No further briefing will be allowed.
(c) On or before February 23, 2018, the Defendants (collectively) shall file their proposed Master Discovery Requests to be answered by each Plaintiff. The Plaintiff shall have until March 2, 2018, to file any objection. The Defendants shall have until March 9, 2018, to file any ...

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