United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
JAMES T. McALLISTER, JR.
McDERMOTT, INC., f/k/a J. RAY McDERMOTT & CO., INC. ET AL.
D. DICK, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court on the Motion for Expedited
Trial Setting filed by Plaintiff, James T. McAllister
(“Plaintiff”). Defendant Air & Liquid Systems
Corporation (“Defendant”) has filed an
Opposition to this motion. Counsel for Plaintiff
recently filed correspondence in this matter updating the
Court on Plaintiff's failing health.
lawsuit was filed by Plaintiff in state court on January 8,
2018 and was removed to this Court on March 29, 2018. This
case arises out of Plaintiff's diagnosis of mesothelioma
allegedly caused by his exposure to asbestos. Plaintiff sat
for a deposition on February 27 and 28, 2018. On May 14,
2018, Plaintiff filed the pending motion seeking an expedited
trial date due to his rapidly declining health.
opposes this motion noting that this case involves
twenty-seven defendants, remains in the very early stages of
discovery, and expert reports for at least eleven identified
experts have yet to be exchanged.
Parties cite to 28 U.S.C. § 1657(a), which provides, in
pertinent part: “each court of the United States shall
determine the order in which civil actions are heard and
determined, except that the court shall expedite the
consideration of any action … if good cause therefor
is shown.” The statute states that “good
cause” is shown “if a right under the
Constitution of the United States or a Federal Statute
… would be maintained in a factual context that
indicates that a request for expedited consideration has
merit.” Additionally Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure grants courts wide discretion in managing
relies on La Code Civ. Pro. Art. 1573, which provides:
The court shall give preference in scheduling upon the motion
of any party to the action who presents to the court
documentation to establish that the party has reached the age
of seventy years or who presents to the court medical
documentation that the party suffers from an illness or
condition because of which he is not likely to survive beyond
six months, if the court finds that the interests of justice
will be served by granting such preference.
notes that there is no similar provision in the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure which apply here; however, Plaintiff
maintains that “the spirit of this rule is embodied
within 28 U.S.C. § 1657(a).”
Court is not without compassion for Plaintiff's
circumstances; however, the Court must deny Plaintiff's
motion for a number of reasons. First, the Court has an
obligation to ensure a fair trial for all parties involved.
Considering the procedural posture of this litigation, it
would be highly prejudicial to all Defendants, considering
what remains to be accomplished through discovery, to force
them to go to trial in a matter of months. Second, the
Court's docket simply has no availability to set this
trial, or any other trial, until the spring of
2019. Third, the Court maintains an active
criminal docket, with several criminal cases involving
multi-defendant drug conspiracy charges, and criminal matters
and settings take precedence over all civil matters as a
matter of law.
short, while the Court is sympathetic to Plaintiff's
failing health, the Court is unable to provide Plaintiff with
an expedited trial date. As the District Court for the
Eastern District of Louisiana recently stated: “Many
litigants have compelling reasons to desire a speedy remedy,
however, and the Court's schedule does not permit
expedited consideration of all these
cases.” Further, the Court finds that it would not
be in the interests of the justice to force the Defendants to
an expedited trial without adequate time for discovery and
Plaintiff's Motion for Expedited Trial
Setting is DENIED.
IS SO ORDERED.