Office of the Clerk of Court
Michael E. Kunz, Clerk of Court
MDL 875
About MDL 875
 Overview of MDL 875
 About MDL 875

Overview of MDL 875
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The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has issued an Order adopting Judge Robreno's Fourth Suggestion regarding future tag-along transfers. Asbestos cases from the Northern District of California will no longer be transferred to MDL 875.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has issued an Order adopting Judge Robreno's Third Suggestion regarding future tag-along transfers. Asbestos cases from the Eastern District of Virginia will no longer be transferred to MDL 875.
Judge Robreno's Presentation regarding MDL-875: Past, Present, and Future (updated March, 2013)
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has issued an Order adopting Judge Robreno's Second Suggestion regarding future tag-along transfers.
The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has issued an Order adopting Judge Robreno's Suggestion regarding future tag-along transfers. Most asbestos cases will cease to be transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Judge Robreno's Presentation regarding MDL-875: Past, Present, and Future (updated February, 2012)
Judge Robreno's Presentation regarding MDL-875: Past, Present, and Future (updated September, 2011)
An Overview of MDL 875 In Re: Asbestos
Judge Robreno's Presentation for the "Cutting Edge Issues in Asbestos Litigation" Conference, March 3-4, 2011
Ten Steps to the Resolution of MDL 875 (updated 10.2.12)
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About MDL 875
MDL 875, In Re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No. VI), involves issues relating to personal injury damages caused by asbestos products. It currently consists of about 3,000 cases transferred by the Judicial Panel on MultiDistrict Litigation to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1991. Each case typically consists of claims by multiple plaintiffs against multiple defendants.

A United States Judicial Conference Ad Hoc Committee on Asbestos Litigation appointed by the Chief Justice described the social effects of asbestos in a 1991 report, saying the use of asbestos "is a tale of danger known about in the 1930s, [with] exposure inflicted upon millions of Americans in the 1940s and 1950s, injuries that began to take their toll in the 1960s, and a flood of lawsuits beginning in the 1970s." [1] Asbestos related diseases may have a latency period of 40-50 years, resulting in a continuous stream of claims that has continued through the present. One of the purposes of transferring all the federal asbestos litigation into a single district was to "facilitate global settlements, and allow the transferee court to fully explore ... national disposition techniques such as classes and sub-classes under Rule 23".[2] In early 1993, a class action was commenced which sought to settle the claims of between 25,000 and 2,000,000 individuals who had been exposed to asbestos products. The settlement was between the proposed class of individuals and a group of 20 companies known as the Center for Claims Resolution (CCR). The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, in Georgine v. Amchem Products (83 F. 3d. 610), ruled that the class did not satisfy the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. In 1997, the Supreme Court subsequently affirmed this ruling in Amchem Products, Inc. v. Windsor (521 U.S. 591).

After the Supreme Court ruled that the proposed settlement class should be decertified, the next opportunity for a mass settlement was through legislative action. There have been several attempts at legislative action to facilitate the resolution of asbestos claims, but none have received the support necessary to become law. These attempts are the Fairness in Asbestos Compensation Act of 1999[3], the Asbestos Compensation Act of 2000[4], the Asbestos Claims Criteria and Compensation Act of 2003[5], and the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act of 2006[6]. The FAIR act was sponsored by Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, was introduced in the Senate and was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was never voted on by the Senate.

Since the Supreme Court decision in Windsor, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has approached MDL 875 under a "one plaintiff, one claim" policy. Beginning with Administrative Order No. 12, the court has initiated an aggressive, pro-active policy in setting cases for settlement conferences, motion hearings and trials. Presiding Judge Robreno has devised further procedures for resolving these actions which commenced in January, 2009. The procedures can be found by clicking on the links above.

[1] Report of The Judicial Conference Ad Hoc Committee on Asbestos Litigation 2-3 (Mar. 1991)
[2] See Id. at 619.
[3] S. 758, 106th Cong. (1999).
[4] H.R. 1283, 106th Cong. (2000).
[5] S. 413, 108th Cong. (2003).
[6] S. 3274. 109th Cong. (2006).