James L. Ware and Defense Group Win Fight Over Transfer of Asbestos Cases to MDL


After a hotly contested fight, the Texas Asbestos MDL court sided with firm clients that asbestos cases must have a medical report which complies with the state statute or be transferred to the MDL for its supervision.  Plaintiffs in cases filed over twenty-five years ago added several insurance companies alleging that all insured an Alabama company and were responsible for asbestos liabilities.  Despite the fact that the claims had been on file in state district courts in Jefferson and Orange County, Texas for over two decades, no claimant served a notice of service of compliant medical report nor served one.  Plaintiffs claimed that Chapter 90.001 et. Seq. of the Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code did not apply to cases filed prior to 2003 and in which an asbestos malignancy was claimed.  Defendants transferred the cases to the MDL as per the statute at which point Plaintiffs moved to remand same to the courts in which the amended petitions were filed.  The motion for remand contended that the MDL court lacked jurisdiction over the claims and that the Plaintiffs had no obligation to serve medical reports since all were malignancy claims.  The fact situation is a first of its kind because in the 2005-2006 time period thousands of cases were transferred to the MDL by agreement but hundreds were not transferred on the representation that same were malignancies and that medical reports were available.  However, some but not all claimants complied with the statutory requirement to serve medical reports confirming an asbestos related malignant condition.  After a period of months, the case may be transferred to the MDL which then has jurisdiction.