Asbestos Law Information

Standardized Motions and Rulings

To prevent the proliferation of routine motions that are subject to routine responses, some courts have ordered that specific motions be deemed to have been filed. For example, in the Western District of Pennsylvania, the court ordered that “all defendants and third-party defendants . , . shall be deemed to have filed cross claims for contribution and indemnity against each other and to have filed answers to all cross claims, denying liability for contribu­tion or indemnity, and that said parties need not file individual cross claims or answers thereto.”80 Later, the court carried this idea to its logical conclusion and ruled that

when any defendant or third-party defendant in any of the asbestos cases files a motion, the granting of which would in normal course inure to the benefit of the other defendants or third party defendants, the motion will be treated as having been made for the benefit of all defendants and third-party defendants . . . .81

In its standing order for asbestos cases, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas listed several standard motions deemed to have been made and ruled upon. For example, the court deemed to have denied motions for summary judgment based on collateral estoppel82 and on lack of evidence of exposure to the defendant’s product and granted leave to assert punitive damages claims against certain defendants and to use depositions from other cases.83 The court also encouraged parties to file motions jointly and to designate a lead counsel to present arguments, without prejudice to the rights of each party to present nonduplicative arguments.84

  1. Order of Court, Johnston v. Johns-Manville Prods. Corp. (W.D. Pa. Jan. 23,
    1980). By order of April 3, 1980, the court added that all affirmative defenses would
    be deemed to have been raised in response to the cross-claims and ordered that
    plaintiffs’ counsel attach a copy of the order to any future complaints. By order of
    September 20, 1983, the court further amended the order to require that any future
    cross-claim for indemnity be filed against a particular defendant and pleaded with

    1. Order of Court, Ryden v, Johns-Manville Prods. Corp. (W.D. Pa. May 19, 1981).
    2. See Hardy v. Johns-Manville Sales Corp., 681 F.2d 334 (5th Cir. 1982).
    3. In re Asbestos Litig., Standing Order § 11 (E.D. Tex. July 1, 1982).
    4. Id. at § 13.