Stutman Law Beats Arbitration and Forum Non Conveniens Allegations in Major Mass Tort Action

Stutman Law filed several mass tort litigations in Atlantic County, New Jersey, against the manufacturers and suppliers of DuraPro™ branded toilet connectors (“Toilet Connectors”), and after one litigation was removed to federal court, Stutman Law defeated motions to dismiss predicated on compulsory arbitration and forum non conveniens arguments. With respect to the motion for compulsory arbitration, Defendants sought to avoid public litigation and attempted to compel resolution of the Plaintiff’s case in Arbitration Forums, Inc., a private arbitration forum. In doing do, Defendants relied upon a written arbitration agreement and a strong federal policy favoring resolution of disputes via arbitration. Stutman Law nevertheless overcame these arguments and defeated the motion by establishing that the compulsory provisions of the arbitration agreement were voided because several defendants in its litigation were non-consenting, non-signatories parties to the arbitration agreement.

As it relates to Defendants’ forum non conveniens arguments, they argued that Plaintiff’s aggregated claims should be severed and transferred from New Jersey to different courts around the country where the individual Toilet Connectors had failed and caused damages. Defendants asserted that Plaintiff’s claims involved separate occurrences, different supply lines, and other venues would have best served the convenience of the parties because the property damages at issue occurred did not occur in New Jersey. Stutman Law defeated this motion as well by proving that several defendants were incorporated and conducted substantial business in New Jersey and the individual claims all involve the same product defect issues and the same defense witnesses. Further, Stutman Law proved that litigation in separate jurisdictions throughout the country would be inconvenient for all parties as it would require duplicative discovery, increased costs, and risk inconsistent outcomes. The Court agreed with Stutman Law that no other convenient forum existed for resolution of the Toilet Connector claims and denied the Defendants’ motion to sever and dismiss.

Click here for a copy of the opinion.