In re Per. Injury Lit. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., LLC., MDL No. 07-0025.

Decision Date07 March 2007
Docket NumberMDL No. 07-0025.
PartiesIn re PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION AGAINST GREAT LAKES DREDGE & DOCK COMPANY, LLC.
CourtTexas Court of Appeals

Justice McCLURE delivered the opinion for the unanimous MDL Panel.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dry Dock Company, LLC, filed its motion before this panel on January 18, 2007, alleging that twenty cases pending in Hidalgo, Starr, Cameron, and Zapata Counties involve common issues of fact arising from personal injuries suffered by individual maritime workers aboard various company dredges. The suits are filed pursuant to the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. § 688, the Federal Employers' Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. § 51 et seq., and general maritime law. Succinctly stated, Great Lakes frames these common issues of fact:

• All twenty cases were filed by company employees, all Texas residents, against a single defendant for physical injuries arising from the company's negligence on board its vessels;

• All claims arise from the same governing law, the same safety policies, the same safety rules, and breaches thereof;

• Four law firms represent the plaintiffs in all twenty cases;

• The written discovery served in all twenty cases is virtually identical, as are the respective motions to compel;

• The same three corporate officers have been targeted for depositions in ten of the cases;

• Most of the experts appear to be the same; and • With rare exceptions, the plaintiffs in all twenty cases are being treated by the same two physicians.

The plaintiffs counter that these cases do not arise from a single incident. Indeed, the twenty plaintiffs were injured at different times, in different states, on different vessels, while engaging in different activities, resulting in different injuries. We agree that the similarities are not common questions of fact; instead they are undisputed facts. The common thread weaving throughout these cases is one ultimate issue: Great Lakes' liability under the Jones Act. There is no single event as in In re Hurricane Rita Evacuation Bus Fire, 216 S.W.3d 70 (Tex. M.D.L. Panel, 2006). It is not mass toxic tort litigation as in In re Union Carbide. See Union Carbide v. Audrea Ameia Adams, et al., (Tex. M.D.L. Panel Dec. 30, 2003). Nor is there a single product responsible for the plaintiffs' damages as in In re Firestone/Ford Litigation, 166 S.W.3d 2 (Tex. M.D.L. Panel 2004). Where only common ultimate issues are presented, transfer is improper. In re Kone, Inc., 216 S.W.3d 68, 70 (Tex. M.D.L. Panel, 2005).

With regard to promotion of the just and efficient conduct of the cases, Great Lakes contends that transfer would prevent...

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4 cases
  • In re Wellington Ins. Co. Hailstorm Litig.
    • United States
    • Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
    • February 13, 2014
    ... ... never have happened).8 See In re Personal Injury Litig. Against Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., ... ...
  • In re Deepwater Horizon Incident Litig., 10–0376.
    • United States
    • Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
    • May 27, 2011
    ...Litigation, 387 S.W.3d 115, 116–18 (Tex. M.D.L. Panel 2009) (citing cases). Our decision in In re Personal Injury Litigation Against Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, Co., LLC, 283 S.W.3d 547 (Tex. M.D.L. Panel 2007), fits within these principles. There we denied an MDL motion because the cases we......
  • In re Delta Lloyds Ins. Co. of Houston
    • United States
    • Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
    • September 5, 2008
    ... ... (plus requests for disclosure) per defendant insurance carrier and 64 requests for ... See, e.g., In re Personal Injury Litigation Against Great Lakes Dredge & Dock any LLC, 283 S.W.3d 547 (Tex. M.D.L. Panel, ... ...
  • In re Farmers Ins. Co. Wind/Hail Storm Litig.
    • United States
    • Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
    • April 7, 2015
    ... ... " allegation was In re OCWEN Loan Servicing, LLC., 286 S.W.3d 669 (Tex. M.D.L. Panel 2007), a ... In In re Personal Injury Litigation Against Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., ... ...

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