Standardization of Pleadings and Discovery

Because asbestos cases have repetitious elements of routine products liability cases, courts and counsel have been able to develop standardized pleadings and discovery documents. Such routinization serves to reduce the costs of litigation to the parties and reduce or eliminate disputes about some subjects, such as discov­ery.

Courts have standardized pleadings in several ways, generally with the assistance of committees of counsel for plaintiffs and defendants. Some courts have required the submission of complaints or affidavits containing standard allegations, such as plaintiffs di­agnosis, alleged period of exposure to asbestos, occupation, and social security number.18 Some courts use form discovery docu­ments to standardize factual matters, and other courts use both af­fidavits and form interrogatories and requests for production of documents.78

  1. See, e.g., BML-1, Discovery Order No. 1 § 3 (D. Md. Dec, 17, 1980); Wedgeworth
    v. Armstrong Cork, Order (D. Miss. Jan. 4, 1980); In re Asbestos Litig., Standing
    Order for Asbestos Cases § 1 (E.D. Tex. July 7, 1982) (affidavit with detailed information about plaintiffs claim, treatment, and damages, as well as complete answers to master interrogatories—required prior to filing unless the statute of limitation is about to run or testimony needs to be perpetuated).