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Defendants Secure Protective Orders To Prevent Waiver of Personal Jurisdiction During Discovery

On August 17, 2017, in Holt v. 4520 Corp., Inc., et al., (1622-CC00844), Judge Dierker of the 22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri, issued an order finding Genuine Parts Company had waived its personal jurisdiction defense by taking steps to litigate the case on its merits including opposing a motion for a change of judge, noticing a deposition of Plaintiff's expert witness, and possibly other discovery. The Court also noted that over a year passed from when Genuine Parts filed its initial motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and when the matter was fully briefed and taken under submission by the Court.

As a result of this order, several defendants sought clarity as to the extent of discovery that was permissible without waiving their personal jurisdiction defense. Today, in the Georganne Burford v. Centel Corp. and Giaurtis v. Aerco International, Inc. cases agreed upon protective orders were issued. These orders will allow Defendants to participate in depositions and other discovery without waiving their personal jurisdiction defense; however, any motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction must be heard no later than 90 days before the trial date. Judge Dierker noted that this 90 day window was necessary to prevent what occurred in the Holt case where defendants unnecessarily delayed bringing their motions to dismiss until the eve of the trial date.

Going forward, Judge Dierker suggested that this type of order be entered in every asbestos case as it would be to the benefit of the parties involved as well as the Court. Orders entered this date in Giaurtis and Burford are attached.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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