On Dec. 5, 2008, the Texas Supreme Court upheld the validity of most of the medical reporting requirements of the Tort Reform law applicable to silica-related personal injury cases. The court held that the Jones Act, a federal maritime law, (1) does not preempt the new Texas silica medical requirements or the transferability of silica-related claims to the MDL court but (2) did preempt the requirement that plaintiffs alleging silicosis present a minimal level of lung impairment before proceeding with their claims because that requirement conflicted with the standard of proof required in Jones Act cases. According to the court, the other medical requirements were no different than the standards that must be met under Robinson/Daubert and Federal/Texas law. Not only does this decision affect the silica and asbestos-related Jones Act cases pending in the state of Texas, it also provides a preview of how the Court might handle a possible future appeal of the pending constitutional challenge of the silica medical requirements, particularly the impairment portion, which is set for hearing on Feb. 16, 2009.

Link to In re Global Santa Fe opinion.