IN RE: 3M COMBAT ARMS EARPLUG PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION

PRETRIAL ORDER NO. 18 ORDER GOVERNING INITIAL CENSUS REQUIREMENTS FOR FILED CASES. Signed by JUDGE M CASEY RODGERS on 10/22/2019.

Northern District of Florida, flnd-3:2019-md-02885

Current View

Full Text

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA PENSACOLA DIVISION IN RE: 3M COMBAT ARMS Case No. 3:19md2885 EARPLUG PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION Judge M. Casey Rodgers This Document Relates to All Cases Magistrate Judge Gary R. Jones PRETRIAL ORDER NO. 18 ORDER GOVERNING INITIAL CENSUS REQUIREMENTS FOR FILED CASES Plaintiffs and Defendants 3M Company, Aearo Technologies LLC, Aearo Holding LLC, Aearo Intermediate LLC, and Aearo LLC (collectively "Defendants") agree that initial discovery (census) information will be necessary for all filed cases. The parties have therefore asked the Court to enter this Order governing the process for obtaining and producing such information. The parties have agreed to use the online MDL Centrality System, as designed and provided by BrownGreer PLC, to complete and serve the discovery material subject to this Order. Accordingly, the Court hereby orders as follows. Initial Census Questions The term "Initial Census Questions" will refer to the questions in the questionnaire attached hereto as Exhibit A. For all cases filed in or transferred into MDL 2885 on or before the date of this Order, the "Census Question Deadline" is December 23, 2019. For all cases filed in or transferred into MDL 2885 after the date of this Order, the "Census Question Deadline" is ninety (90) days from the date the case was filed in or transferred into MDL 2885. Each Plaintiff must complete and serve on Defendants through MDL Centrality answers to the Initial Census Questions by the Census Question Deadline. 1 Plaintiff's answers to the Initial Census Questions will be made under penalty of perjury, will be treated as interrogatories pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33, and will be subject to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26 and 37. The Census Question Deadline may only be extended by: (i) the Court on a showing of good cause; or (ii) agreement of the parties with leave of Court. Defendants must notify each Plaintiff of any allegedly deficient answers to the Initial Census Questions within 30 days of being served with the answers through MDL Centrality. Defendants' notification must specify which answers are allegedly deficient, along with the basis for their position. Within 30 days of receiving Defendants' notification, a Plaintiff must respond to the notification by either serving non-deficient answers or otherwise explaining in writing why he or she disagrees with the deficiencies identified by Defendants. The parties will have 14 days from the date that a Plaintiff's response to Defendants' notification is served to 1 An Initial Census Questions form is complete where accurate and responsive answers are provided to every question on the form. Whether an answer is deficient will be determined under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33. Importantly, the deficiency process is not an opportunity to test the veracity of a plaintiff's answers; it is intended to address omissions and incomplete answers only. meet and confer regarding any allegedly uncured deficiencies. To the extent disputes remain, Defendants must file a motion to compel within 14 days after the meet and confer.2 Defendants' motion must identify the Plaintiffs who provided allegedly deficient answers, as well as the nature of any alleged deficiency. The Plaintiffs' response to any such motion to compel must be filed within 14 days after the motion is filed. Thereafter, the Court will resolve the outstanding dispute(s). To the extent the Court finds a Plaintiff's answers deficient, that Plaintiff will be granted a short time period within which to cure the deficiency. Absent a showing of good cause, failure to provide nondeficient answers to the Initial Census Questions within the applicable deadlines will be grounds for dismissal with prejudice. Initial Census Documents The term "Initial Census Documents" will refer to the documents responsive to the document requests attached hereto as Exhibit B. For all cases filed in or transferred into MDL 2885 on or before the date of this Order, the "First Document Deadline" is November 6, 2019. For all cases filed in or transferred into MDL 2885 after the date of this Order, the "First Document Deadline" will be forty-five (45) days from the date the case was filed in or transferred into MDL 2885. For all cases 2 If Defendants allege that multiple plaintiffs' answers are deficient for similar reasons, they may file an omnibus motion on the MDL docket rather than separate motions on the individual dockets for each plaintiff. Plaintiff Leadership, rather than individual non-leadership counsel, must respond to any such omnibus motion filed on the MDL docket. filed in or transferred into MDL 2885 on or before the date of this Order, the "Final Document Deadline" is January 13, 2020. For all cases filed in or transferred into MDL 2885 after the date of this Order, the "Final Document Deadline" will be one hundred and twenty (120) days from the date the case was filed in or transferred into MDL 2885. Each Plaintiff must provide Defendants through MDL Centrality with the Initial Census Documents for each Plaintiff that are in his or her possession, custody or control by the First Document Deadline. If Plaintiff or Plaintiff's counsel thereafter gains possession, custody or control of additional Initial Census Documents, Plaintiffs' counsel must provide those documents to Defendants through MDL Centrality within 14 days of receipt. To the extent any Initial Census Documents are in the possession of a third party, including the military or other government agency, Plaintiff must request those documents from the third party within the following time periods: • Touhy requests. Plaintiffs in cases filed in or transferred into MDL 2885 on or before the date of this order must serve any Touhy requests within twenty- one (21) days of the date of this order. Plaintiffs in cases filed in or transferred into MDL 2885 after the date of this order must serve any Touhy requests within twenty- one (21) days of the date the case was filed in or transferred into MDL 2885. • All other requests. Plaintiffs in cases filed in or transferred into MDL 2885 on or before the date of this order must serve all other requests within forty-five (45) days of the date of this order. Plaintiffs in cases filed in or transferred into MDL 2885 after the date of this order must serve all other requests within forty-five (45) days of the date the case was filed in or transferred into MDL 2885. Each Plaintiff must complete his or her production or the Initial Census Documents to Defendants through MDL Centrality by the Final Document Deadline. The Final Document Deadline may only be extended by: (i) the Court on a showing of good cause; or (ii) agreement of the parties with leave of Court. Defendants must notify each Plaintiff of any alleged deficient production of Initial Census Documents within 60 days of being served with the documents through MDL Centrality. Defendants' notification must specify which documents are absent or deficient, along with the basis for their position that a document is deficient. Within 60 days of receiving Defendants' notification, a Plaintiff must respond to the notification by either curing the deficiency or otherwise explaining in writing why he or she disagrees with the deficiencies identified by Defendants. The parties will have 14 days from the date that a Plaintiff's response to Defendants' notification is provided to meet and confer regarding any allegedly uncured deficiencies. To the extent disputes remain, Defendants must file a motion to compel within 14 days after the meet and confer. 3 Defendants' motion must identify the Plaintiffs whose production of Initial Census Documents are allegedly deficient, as well as the nature of any alleged deficiency. The Plaintiffs' response to any such 3 If Defendants allege that multiple plaintiffs' Initial Census Documents are deficient for similar reasons, they may file an omnibus motion on the MDL docket rather than separate motions on the individual dockets for each plaintiff. Plaintiff Leadership, rather than individual non- leadership counsel, must respond to any such omnibus motion filed on the MDL docket. motion to compel must be filed within 14 days after the motion is filed. Thereafter, the Court will resolve the outstanding dispute(s). To the extent the Court finds a Plaintiff's Initial Census Documents are deficient, that Plaintiff will be granted a short time period within which to cure the deficiency. Absent a showing of good cause, failure to provide nondeficient Initial Census Documents within the applicable deadlines will be grounds for dismissal with prejudice. DONE AND ORDERED, on this 22nd day of October, 2019. M. Casey Rodgers M. CASEY RODGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE