Law School Case Brief
Acuna v. Brown & Root, Inc. - 200 F.3d 335 (5th Cir. 2000)
The federal district court's exercise of jurisdiction is reviewed de novo, and doubts regarding whether removal jurisdiction is proper should be resolved against federal jurisdiction.
In mass tort litigation, Crecension Acuna and more than 1,000 other plaintiffs filed two suits in Texas state courts against Brown & Root Inc. and numerous other defendants for alleged personal injuries arising from defendants' uranium mining and processing activities. Defendants removed the cases to federal district court, which asserted jurisdiction under the Price Anderson Act. The court issued pre-discovery scheduling orders that required Acuna to establish, through expert affidavits, specific information for each plaintiff regarding their injuries and causation plus the scientific and medical bases for the expert's opinions. Acuna submitted form affidavits that did not provide any information regarding the specific claims of the vast majority of plaintiffs.
Does the Acuna’s failure to provide any information regarding the specific claims of the vast majority of plaintiffs warrant a dismissal of their cases?
Affirming, the United States Court of Appeals held that the cases were properly dismissed for failure to comply with the order. The Court held that 42 U.S.C.S. § 2210(n)(2) (the Price Anderson Act) conferred jurisdiction over the two related cases and therefore removal was proper. The Court also noted that the district court's pre-discovery orders and orders of dismissal were not abuses of its discretion.
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