Hodjera et al v. BASF Catalysts, LLC et al
ORDER denying as moot plaintiffs' 117 Motion for Priority Trial Setting, signed by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (SWT)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
MATTHEW HODJERA and SYLVIA
BASF CATALYSTS LLC, et al.,
Case No. C17-48RSL
ORDER DENYING AS MOOT
PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR
PRIORITY TRIAL SETTING
This matter comes before the Court on plaintiffs’ motion for priority trial setting. Dkt.
# 117. Having reviewed the memoranda of the parties and the remainder of the record, the Court
denies as moot plaintiffs’ motion for the reasons that follow.
According to the original complaint, Mr. Hodjera was exposed to asbestos or asbestos-
containing products in Toronto, Ontario, between 1986 and 1994. Dkt. # 1-1 at 4. On May 20,
2016, Mr. Hodjera was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Id. On December 2, 2016, plaintiffs filed
suit in King County Superior Court, alleging that Mr. Hodjera’s mesothelioma had been
proximately caused by the manufacture, sale, and/or distribution of asbestos-containing products
by the following defendants: BASF Catalysts LLC; BorgWarner Morse Tec Inc.; Central
Precision Limited; Charles B. Chrystal Company, Inc.; Dana Companies, LLC; Dana Canada
Corp.; DAP Products, Inc.; Felt Products Mfg. Co.; Honeywell International Inc.; Imerys Talc
ORDER DENYING AS MOOT PLAINTIFFS’
MOTION FOR PRIORITY TRIAL SETTING - 1
America, Inc.; Johnson & Johnson; Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.; Pneumo
Abex LLC; Union Carbide Corporation; Vanderbilt Minerals LLC; Volkswagen
Aktiengesellschaft; Volkswagen Group of Canada; Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.;
Whittaker, Clark & Daniels, Inc.; and Does 1–350, inclusive. Dkt. # 1-1 at 2–3. On January 11,
2017, defendant Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. removed the case. Dkt. # 1. The Court
has granted various motions to dismiss on the grounds that plaintiffs’ original complaint lacked
sufficient factual allegations to establish specific jurisdiction in Washington.
Plaintiffs move for a priority trial setting pursuant to RCW 4.44.025, which provides that
“[w]hen setting civil cases for trial . . . upon motion of a party, the court may give priority to
cases in which a party is frail and over 70 years of age or is afflicted with a terminal illness.”
Plaintiffs introduce a declaration from Mr. Hodjera’s treating physician, Dr. Somasundaram
Subramaniam, who testifies that Mr. Hodjera’s mesothelioma may affect his ability to recall
events and accordingly that “any deposition or trial which will require Mr. Hodjera to accurately
recall events should take place expeditiously and as soon as possible, while he has physical
stamina to participate in the process and the ability to think cogently and communicate
effectively.” Dkt. # 119, ¶ 4.
Balancing these medical concerns with their interest in preparing sufficiently for trial,
plaintiffs specifically request a trial date seven months after their motion is adjudicated. Dkt.
# 117 at 3. Trial is currently scheduled for March 5, 2018, Dkt. # 79, which is seven months and
one week from the date of this order. Accordingly, plaintiffs’ motion is denied as moot.
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiffs’ motion for priority trial setting (Dkt. # 117) is
DENIED as moot.
Dated this 31st day of July, 2017.
Robert S. Lasnik
United States District Judge
ORDER DENYING AS MOOT PLAINTIFFS’
MOTION FOR PRIORITY TRIAL SETTING - 2
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