Louisiana Record

Monday, February 17, 2020

Judge grants in part motion to stay pending appeal in class action against Dow Chemical


By Rich Peters | Nov 21, 2019


NEW ORLEANS – A motion to stay a pending appeal filed in a case against Dow Chemical Company, in which the plaintiffs seek to stay their obligation to conduct “a burdensomely expensive claims process,” was partially granted by a Louisiana District Court judge on Oct. 23

The class action filed by Sheila Guidry was removed to the court for the second time in 10 years on Aug. 20, 2019.

District Judge Martin L. C. Feldman ordered that the plaintiffs’ motion to stay is granted in part – the plaintiffs’ obligation to affirmatively conduct a sworn claims process will be stayed pending appeal – and denied in part – the plaintiffs must provide to defendants facts presently in their possession bearing on class size and amount-in-controversy.

“The Court finds that staying the plaintiffs’ affirmative obligation to undertake a sworn claims process but requiring the parties to conduct discovery concerning jurisdictional facts already in their possession strikes a just balance pending the plaintiffs’ appeal,” Feldman wrote. 

“It will remain the defendants’ obligation to demonstrate whether the preponderance burden is met; that is, the removing defendants must satisfy the court by a preponderance of the evidence that this case has placed into controversy more than $5,000,000.”

The plaintiffs sought the Fifth Circuit’s permission to appeal the court’s Sept. 19 order, asking the court to “stay that portion of its decision requiring Plaintiffs to complete jurisdictional discovery within ninety days, pending final appeal.”

The Dow Chemical Company is an American multinational chemical corporation and is among the three largest chemical producers in the world. Dow manufactures plastics, chemicals and agricultural products. It has a presence in about 160 countries and employs about 54,000 people worldwide.

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