Adams v. Dupont et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER, The Court GRANTS Adams's motion for reconsideration (Doc. 38) and VACATES its December 17, 2020, judgment (Doc. 37) and its order to the extent it relates to defendant DuPont only (Doc. 36). The Court GRANTS Adams's mo tion for recruitment of counsel (Doc. 39) and counsel will be appointed by separate order. The Court DENIES as moot Adams's motion for an order for access to the website of defendant DuPont for the purpose of filling out an information sheet (Do c. 40) in light of the recruitment of counsel for limited purposes, and TERMINATES the reference to Magistrate Judge Beatty until such time as all served defendants have consented to such a referral. Signed by Judge J. Phil Gilbert on 1/7/2021. (jdh)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ROBERT CHRISTOPHER ADAMS,
Case No. 20-cv-594-JPG
DUPONT and EDWARD WALLACE,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on the motions of plaintiff Robert Christopher Adams
for reconsideration of the Court’s December 17, 2020, order and judgment (Doc.38), for
appointment of counsel (Doc. 39), and for an order for access to the website of defendant DuPont
for the purpose of filling out an information sheet (Doc. 40). The Court entered judgment of
dismissal without prejudice after Adams failed to timely serve the defendants or to respond to an
order to show cause.
The Court considers Adams’s motion for reconsideration to be under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 59(e) since it was filed within 28 days of entry of judgment and seeks the type of
relief available under that rule. See Carter v. City of Alton, 922 F.3d 824, 826 n. 1 (7th Cir.
2019). Under Rule 59(e), a court has the opportunity to consider newly discovered material
evidence or intervening changes in the controlling law or to correct its own manifest errors of
law or fact to avoid unnecessary appellate procedures. Moro v. Shell Oil Co., 91 F.3d 872, 876
(7th Cir. 1996); see A&C Constr. & Installation, Co. WLL v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 963 F.3d 705,
709 (7th Cir. 2020).
In this lawsuit, Adams alleges that he suffered exposure to ammonium perfluorooctanoate
(“C-8”), a chemical DuPont used in a number of its products. Years ago, Dupont settled Leach
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v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, No. 2:14-cv-23755 (S.D.W.Va.), a class action in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia brought by more than
70,000 class members in six water districts near a Dupont plant that discharged C-8. Since that
settlement, there have been numerous personal injury cases alleging injury from that C-8
discharge. See In re: E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company C-8 Personal Injury Litigation,
MDL 2433. The Court believes it is possible that Adams may have a viable lawsuit related to
this family of lawsuits. Without further clarification, though, the Court cannot say whether
Adams has a colorable lawsuit against DuPont and whether, if he does, he is capable of litigating
it himself or likely to be able to obtain counsel on his own.
The Court is further sympathetic to incarcerated persons who, now limited even more
than normal by COVID-19, cannot access basic resources to look up a defendant’s address for
the purpose servicing it. Furthermore, recent mail service delays have resulted in additional
difficulties for inmate’s trying to communicate with those outside prison. The Court finds that in
light of these difficulties, it is necessary to recruit counsel for limited purposes in this case and,
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m), to extend the time for service until February
In light of all of the foregoing, the Court:
GRANTS Adams’s motion for reconsideration (Doc. 38) and VACATES its December
17, 2020, judgment (Doc. 37) and its order to the extent it relates to defendant DuPont
only (Doc. 36);1
GRANTS Adams’s motion for recruitment of counsel (Doc. 39) and counsel will be
appointed by separate order. Counsel is appointed for the following purposes only: (1)
to achieve service on the defendant DuPont, (2) to assist Adams in obtaining the
Defendant Edward Wallace remains dismissed from this case without prejudice because, in
addition to not timely serving him, Adams makes no factual allegations against him in the
complaint. Reconsideration of the Court’s prior disposition of the claims against Wallace is not
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information sheet/form he seeks in his third motion (Doc. 40), and (3) to file a notice
advising the Court whether Adams may have a colorable claim that might be heard in In
re: E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company C-8 Personal Injury Litigation, MDL 2433.
All this should be accomplished by February 19, 2021;
DENIES as moot Adams’s motion for an order for access to the website of defendant
DuPont for the purpose of filling out an information sheet (Doc. 40) in light of the
recruitment of counsel for limited purposes; and
TERMINATES the reference to Magistrate Judge Beatty until such time as all served
defendants have consented to such a referral.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: January 7, 2021
s/ J. Phil Gilbert
J. PHIL GILBERT
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