UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
February 14, 1986
IN RE: ASBESTOS LITIGATION
The opinion of the court was delivered by: BISSELL
JOHN W. BISSELL, Judge United States District Court
On its own motion, on October 11, 1985, the court ordered that all cases in the District of New Jersey involving exposure to or use of asbestos be consolidated for the sole purpose of determining issues concerning the relationship among the New Jersey Supreme Court's decisions in Beshada v. Johns-Manville products Corp., 90 N.J. 191 (1982), and Feldman v. Lederle Laboratories, 97 N.J. 429 (1984), and the Equal Protection Clause of the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution of the United States, the opinion of the court on these issues to become the law of the case for all cases in the asbestos litigation.
For the reasons stated in the accompanying opinion, the court determines that the aforementioned decisions together with In the Matter of Asbestos Litigation Venued in Middlesex County, 99 N.J. 201 (1984), do not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the fourteenth amendment; accordingly, it is, on this 14th day of February, 1986,
ORDERED that under New Jersey law the state-of-the-art defense is not available, against a strict-liability claim, to a defendant-manufacturer of products containing asbestos, and it is further
ORDERED that this rule shall henceforth be the law of the case for all cases in the asbestos litigation in the District of New Jersey.
Parties to asbestos actions in which motions pertaining to the state-of-the-art defense are pending as of this date are directed to submit appropriate orders to the judge to whom the action is assigned.
Motions subsequently made regarding this issue shall be submitted to the judge to whom the action is assigned and shall be disposed of in accordance with this order and accompanying opinion.
This decision shall have no retroactive effect upon any asbestos cases previously adjudicated or otherwise disposed of and may not serve as a ground for the reopening of any such concluded action.
On its own motion, the court is of the opinion that controlling questions of law have been presented regarding the constitutionality of the denial of the state-of-the-art defense to manufacturers of asbestos products in New Jersey. There is substantial ground for difference of opinion on this question and an immediate appeal from this order to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), may materially advance the ultimate termination of litigation. Any application for immediate interlocutory appeal from this order shall not result in a stay of proceedings in this court.
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