In Lone Pine, plaintiffs alleged personal injuries and depreciation in property value caused by toxic pollution from a landfill operated by defendant Lone Pine, and from 463 other defendants alleged to have been generators or haulers of toxic materials to the landfill. Faced with the monumental task of managing the litigation and concerned that no prima facie claim appeared on the face of the complaint, the New Jersey Superior Court ordered the plaintiffs to substantiate their allegations of injury, damage, and proximate cause by providing a detailed factual basis for each claim and expert reports on medical and economic injury and causation. The Lone Pine found a “total and complete lack of information as to causal relationship and damages” and dismissed the claims with prejudice. In doing so, the Court pointedly observed, “This Court is not willing to continue the instant action with the hope that the defendants eventually will capitulate and give a sum of money to satisfy plaintiffs and their attorney without having been put to the test of proving their cause of action.” See Lore v. Lone Pine Corp., 1986 WL 637507, *4 (N.J.Super.Ct. Law Div., Nov. 18, 1986).
The Zimmer Court’s Lone Pine order is fully in the spirit of the original. With the goal of ensuring that cases are of “sufficient merit to proceed to trial,” the order gives plaintiffs three months to provide the required expert declarations. Plaintiffs who miss that deadline and who fail to show cause will find their claims promptly dismissed with prejudice.
A full copy of the Zimmer MDL Lone Pine Order can be found here.