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Fisher v. Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation

United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama
245 F.R.D. 539 (S.D. Ala. 2007)


Facts

Jessie Fisher, Arlean Reed, Barbara Byrd, Ronald McIntyre, and Sharon Greer (plaintiffs) sued current and former owners of Ciba Specialty Chemicals Corporation (Ciba) (defendants), alleging that DDT from Ciba’s plant contaminated their individual properties. The plaintiffs initially sought class action status, but the court denied certification on the ground that common questions did not predominate over individualized ones, among others. Contending that a single trial would be inefficient and prejudicial to them, the defendants moved to sever the plaintiffs’ claims into five separate trials. The case involved a mix of common and individualized evidence. The same nine expert witnesses would likely be called to testify with respect to each of the plaintiffs’ claims, however, and the experts all lived out of state. The district court considered the defendants’ motion.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Steele, 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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