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Acuna v. Brown & Root Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
200 F.3d 335 (5th Cir. 2000)


Facts

Crecension Acuna (plaintiff) and over one thousand other plaintiffs sued Brown & Root Inc. (defendant) and numerous other defendants for personal injuries and property damage allegedly resulting from the defendants’ mining and processing of uranium. In a [subsequently consolidated] related case, Rebecca Garcia (plaintiff) and about 600 other plaintiffs brought similar claims against a number of defendants, some of whom overlapped with the defendants in the Acuna litigation, based on the defendants’ mining and processing of uranium. The plaintiffs alleged various injuries and different durations, intensities, and means of exposure. In both cases, the district court issued pre-discovery scheduling orders. These orders required each plaintiff to specify the injury suffered, the materials or substances that caused the injury, the dates of exposure, and the bases for expert opinions. The plaintiffs in the Acuna litigation submitted individual affidavits that generally summarized the plaintiffs’ claims. In the Garcia litigation, the plaintiffs submitted one affidavit from an expert for all the plaintiffs’ claims. The district court found these affidavits failed to meet the specificity requirements of its scheduling order and dismissed both cases. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Benavides, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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