UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
ROSHAUNDA JACKSON, ET AL
SYNGENTA CROP PROTECTION, LLC,
RULING ON MOTION FOR ENTRY OF A LONE PINE ORDER
Before the court is the Motion for Entry of a Lone Pine Order
filed by defendants Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, Melinda Sanford
and Mark Graham. Record document number 43. The motion is
The background for this motion is fairly set out in the
defendants’ supporting memorandum and will not be repeated here.
Defendants sought entry of a Lone Pine order2 as a way of obtaining
the basic information supporting the plaintiffs alleged claims of
injuries and damages to their child caused by plaintiff Roshaunda
Jackson’s exposure to Glyphosate when she was pregnant. Defendants
1 Record document number 51. Defendants filed a reply
memorandum. Record document number 55.
2 A Lone Pine order derives its name from the case of Lore v.
Lone Pine Corp., 1986 WL 637507, (N.J.Super.L. 1986). It is
unnecessary to repeat in this ruling the development and
application of Lone Pine orders. As a discovery device in mass
tort actions, a Lone Pine order should result in the prompt
development of relevant information about each individual
plaintiff’s exposure, injury, and damage.
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asserted that their review of voluminous medical records provided
by the plaintiffs revealed nothing regarding any Glyphosate
exposure. These records, defendants further contend, contain
nothing linking any of the child’s alleged medical problems to
Roshaunda Jackson’s alleged Glyphosate exposure. In their
opposition memorandum the plaintiffs did not dispute the
defendants’ representation that the child’s medical records provide
no connection between the child’s alleged medical problems and
The Lone Pine order requested by the defendants would require
the plaintiffs to submit evidence, in the form of an affidavit from
a suitably qualified expert as to: (1) the amount and duration
(dose) of Glyphosate to which the plaintiffs’ then unborn child was
exposed and on what occasions; and (2) what particular injuries,
illnesses and conditions allegedly affecting their child are linked
to Glyphosate exposure, and at what dose level; (3) what
differential diagnosis was done that supports an opinion that the
child’s alleged particular injuries, illnesses and conditions did
not have some etiology other than Glyphosate exposure; and (4) what
medical or scientific evidence supports the opinion that the dose
of Glyphosate received by the plaintiff’s then unborn child caused
his particular injuries, illnesses and conditions.
Defendants argued further that, Rule 11, Fed.R.Civ.P.,
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required the plaintiffs to already have the information sought
through a Lone Pine when their suit was filed.
Plaintiffs argued that a Lone Pine order is appropriate only
in cases involving complex litigation and numerous plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs further argued that the Lone Pine order sought by the
defendants is overbroad for this case.
Lone Pine order burden-shifting is appropriate in exceptional
circumstances where the defendant can established that it would be
unduly burdensome to conduct discovery using the standard discovery
methods provided by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
case is not a complex mass tort case. Defendants failed to
establish that this case will likely impose the kinds of burdens on
the defendants and the court that the Lone Pine order was designed
The number of plaintiffs - two, with just their child as the
focus of the case - is simply too low to require the plaintiffs to
provide prima facie proof to support their claims pursuant to a
Lone Pine order.4 Propounding discovery requests focused on
3 Acuna v. Brown & Root, 200 F.3d 335, 340 (5th Cir. 2000).
(case involved litigation which included approximately 1,600
plaintiffs). The court also recognized that in the federal courts,
such orders are within the wide discretion afforded district judges
over the management of discovery under Rule 16, Fed.R.Civ.P.
4 In two earlier cases, one involving more complex factual
issues and another with many more plaintiffs, this court denied
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general and specific causation on two plaintiffs represented by the
same attorney does not result in the same type of management
problems which have been alleviated through the issuance of a Lone
Pine order in the past.
Additionally, since some medical discovery has already been
done, the defendants may move for summary judgment on the issue of
general causation and/or specific causation earlier than they might
otherwise. This would likely require the plaintiffs to produce the
same kind of evidence as would be produced pursuant to a Lone Pine
Defendants’ Rule 11 argument is unpersuasive. While it is
reasonable to conclude that the information sought by the
defendants is information the plaintiffs should have had before
they filed their suit, Rule 11 did not apply in the state court
where the plaintiffs filed their suit. The rule applies now that
the case is in federal court.
Accordingly, the defendants’ Motion for Entry of a Lone Pine
Order is denied. After the time to object to this ruling, as
provided by Rule 72(a), Fed.R.Civ.P., has expired, if no objection
is timely filed a status conference will be held for the purpose of
motions for entry of a Lone Pine order. Dickson v. Honeywell
International, Inc., CV 05-1349-JJB-SCR, record document number 21;
Frazier v. Pioneer Americas, L.L.C., CV 05-1338-JJB-SCR, record
document number 53, Ruling on Appeal, record document number 59.
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entering a scheduling order.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, August 7, 2013.
STEPHEN C. RIEDLINGER
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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