United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
E. KNOWLES, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
January 4, 2017, three motions came on for oral hearing
before the undersigned. Present were Gerolyn Roussel on
behalf of plaintiff and Susan Kohn, James Guidry, Jennifer
Adams, John Hainkel, and David Stein on behalf of various
defendants. After the oral hearing, the Court took the
motions under advisement. Having reviewed the pleadings and
the case law, the Court rules as follows.
complaint alleges as follows. On February 11, 2016, plaintiff
filed his Petition for Damages in the Civil District Court
for the Parish of Orleans alleging the defendants, which
plaintiff collectively refers to as the “asbestos
companies, ” caused or contributed to his development
of asbestos-related lung cancer. In particular, plaintiff
claims that from approximately 1967 through 1992 during his
employment “in various positions by and on the premises
of Freeport‘s Port Sulphur facility, Grand Isle
facility, Garden Island Bay facility, Caminada facility, as
well as various drilling rigs, ” he was exposed on a
“daily basis” to “asbestos and
asbestos-containing products manufactured, distributed, and
sold by the ‘asbestos companies.'” The
alleged years of asbestos-exposure are extended to 1994 in
the following paragraph. All defendants are alleged to be
“jointly, severally, and in solido
liable” to plaintiff.
removed the case to this Court on March 22, 2016 on the basis
that this Court possesses original jurisdiction under the
Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (“OCSLA”).
The Motions to Quash
The Parties' Arguments
the motions before the Court are near-identical motions:
Plaintiff's Motion to Quash Subpoena and Notice of
Records Deposition [Doc. #175] and Plaintiff's Motion to
Quash Subpoena and Notice of Records Deposition and Motion
for Protective Order [Doc. #264]. Both motions present
substantially the same arguments and will be combined for
purposes of this Order.
December 15, 2016, counsel for The McCarty Corporation
(“McCarty”) issued a Notice of Records Deposition
and Subpoena to Timothy J. Young of The Young Firm, which
seeks production of any documents or information provided to
any bankruptcy trusts as well as any and all settlement
documents and checks reflecting payments made to Jesse Frank
Sheppard by any bankruptcy trusts.
Young Firm represented Sheppard in an earlier asbestosis suit
that was dismissed. Current counsel represents Sheppard on a
claim based on his diagnosis with cancer. Citing case law
from other circuits, Sheppard contends that courts have held
that settlement documents, including statements of exposure
in settlement releases, are not discoverable. Sheppard argues
that allowing such discovery would deter settlement in
asbestos litigation. Sheppard notes that in Davis v.
Johns-Manville Products, 1990 WL 162844, *1 (E.D. La.
October 16, 1990), the court held that the disclosure of
settlements would not lead to the discovery of admissible
evidence because such information would not prove liability,
would not influence the amount of contribution to which a
defendant may be entitled, and would not result in a
reduction of a final judgment against the defendant.
asks the Court to quash the notice of deposition to Young and
find that the information sought is neither relevant nor
proportionate to the needs of the case.
December 22, 2016, counsel for General Electric Company
(“GE”) issued a Notice of Records Deposition and
Subpoena to Malissa Antonucci, Manville Personal Injury
Settlement Trust, which seeks production of (Topic Nos.) (3)
any and all claims made to the Manville Personal Injury
Settlement Trust by or on behalf of Jesse Frank Sheppard; (4)
any and all claims documents referencing any claim(s) made to
the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust by or on behalf
of Jesse Frank Sheppard; and (5) any and all sworn
statements, affidavits, and/or depositions given by or on
behalf of Jesse Frank Sheppard. Sheppard seeks to quash the
foregoing topic numbers in the subpoena for the same reasons
that he seeks to quash the subpoena propounded on Young.
McCarty notes that Sheppard did not
sue it in the earlier litigation, Aarons v. Phillips 66
Company, in which Young represented Sheppard. During his
deposition, counsel showed Sheppard an “Affidavit of
Exposure” produced to counsel for Chevron by Young in
the earlier litigation. Sheppard acknowledged the document
and his signature. McCarty seeks to discover whether Sheppard
filed other claims with other ...