E. Elaine Shofner
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Georgia Court Severs Asbestos Claims for Failure to Show Commonality

November 8, 2004 – Media Coverage
HarrisMartin

ATLANTA -- A state court has severed several asbestos claims after finding the plaintiffs failed to show commonality among their allegations, despite being given the opportunity to show that the claims were properly joined. Armstead, et al. v. Georgia Pacific Corporation, et al., No. 03-A-11943-5 (Ga. State Ct., Cobb Cty.).

In an Oct. 13 order, Judge David P. Darden of the Georgia State Court for Cobb County, severed the claims as unrelated actions but allowed the severed plaintiffs to re-file their claims with separate civil action numbers. Judge Darden also ordered that the lead plaintiff, Mildred Armstead, re-file her lawsuit naming only the defendants relevant to her claims.

According to Judge Darden's order, plaintiffs were ordered to file an amended complaints demonstrating that their claims were proper under Georgia joinder requirements. The order followed a previous motion to sever filed by defendants in the case. However, the amended lawsuit, however, was almost identical to the initial complaint, Judge Darden found.

'In addition, the plaintiffs failed to show any commonality between the plaintiffs, merely restating the brief allegations in the initial Complaint which had been ruled as insufficient to maintain joinder,' Judge Darden said. 'Furthermore, the Plaintiffs filed a supplemental response to Defendant's Motion to Sever stating that the State Court of Fulton County had declined to sever the claims in a similar situation.'

Judge Darden also ruled that if the severed plaintiffs do not re-file within 30 days, the claims would be dismissed without prejudice.

Counsel involved in the lawsuit are Saunders Aldridge of Hunter, Maclean, Exley & Dunn of Savannah, Ga.; Thomas D. Allen of Weinberg, Wheeler, Hudgins, Gunn & Dial of Atlanta; N. Calhoun Anderson Jr. of N. Calhoun Anderson Jr., P.C. in Savannah, Ga.; K Marc Barre Jr. of Atlanta; Frank C. Bedinger III and Peter R. York of Hawkins Parnell & Young in Atlanta; S. DeAnn Bomar of Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers in Atlanta; Stephen M. Brooks, Sara Sadler Turnipseed and Thomas F. Wamsley Jr. of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough in Atlanta; Robert C. Buck of Childers, Buck & Schlueter in Atlanta; Anne Marie Carter of King & Spalding in Atlanta; Anthony L. Cochran of Chivilis, Cochran, Larkins & Bever in Atlanta; Charles J. Cole of Owen, Gleaton, Egan, Jones & Sweeney in Atlanta; Ronald D. Collins of Forman, Perry, Watkins, Krutz & Tardy in Jackson, Miss.; and Alex E. Cosculluela of Adams & Reese in Houston.

Alexandra B. Cunningham of Hunton & Williams in Richmond, Va.; Ralph Davies of Davies, McFarland & Carroll in Pittsburgh; C. Michael Evert Jr. and Jennifer M. Techman of Evert & Weathersby in Atlanta; Robert A. Barnaby II of Carter & Ansley in Atlanta; Stacey Farrell of Atlanta; John Gilliland of Atlanta; Brenda Godfrey of the Law Offices of Pamela L. Tremayne in Atlanta; Steven Samuel Griffin of Atlanta; Debra Haan and Michael J. Rust of Gray, Rust, St. Amand, Moffett & Brieske in Atlanta; Ollie M. Harton and David C. Marshall and E. Elaine Shofner of Hawkins Parnell & Young in Atlanta; D. Mitchell Henry of Webster, Henry & Lyons in Montgomery, Ala.;Lisa S. Higgins, Hall F. McKinley III and R. Wesley Kelley of Drew Eckl & Farnham of Atlanta; David A. Hughes of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart in Atlanta; G Patterson Koahey of Birmingham, Ala.; Orlyn O Lockhard of Atlanta; Gene A. Major of Fain, Major, Wiley & Brennan in Atlanta; Jason C. Odom of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman in Atlanta; Elizabeth M. O'Neill of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Legal Department in Atlanta; John Clark Porter Jr of Stites & Harbison in Atlanta; Theodore E.G. Pound of Mayfield, Commander & Pound in Atlanta; Althea Price-Dublin of King & Spalding in Atlanta; Anandhi S. Rajan of Swift, Currie, McGhee & Hiers in Atlanta; David A. Sapp of David A. Sapp, P.C. in Atlanta; Rhea Hudson Sheldon of Abbott, Simses & Kuchler in Jackson, Miss.; Angela M. Spivey of McGuireWoods in Atlanta; J. Douglas Stewart of Stewart, Melvin & Frost in Gainesville, Ga.; Brooke Franklin Voelzke of Hunton & Williams in Atlanta; Anthony J. Watkins of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis in Philadelphia; and Gregory H. Wheeler and Ryan B. Wilhelm of Carlock, Copeland, Semler & Stair in Atlanta also represent parties in the lawsuit

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