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IN RE REZULIN PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION

United States District Court, S.D. New York


January 23, 2004.

In re: REZULIN PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION, This Document Relates to: 03-Civ-6382

The opinion of the court was delivered by: LEWIS KAPLAN, District Judge

PRETRIAL ORDER NO. 223 (Motion for Emergency Stay)
Defendant Dr. Willie B. Lucas seeks an emergency stay of this action because his insurer, which allegedly is obliged to assume and pay for Dr. Lucas's defense, is insolvent and barred, by the order of a Mississippi state court, from defending Dr. Lucas in this Rezulin action. Absent a stay, Dr. Lucas claims, he will suffer the "severe prejudice" of paying his own defense costs. He argues also that a stay is required to grant "proper full faith and credit to the Tennessee order."

The pertinent facts alleged in the motion are that in January 2003 the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance placed Doctors Insurance Reciprocal (DIR) into receivership and issued an Order of Administrative Supervision preventing DIR, among other things, from withdrawing or spending any funds. A Tennessee state court then issued an order, presumably at the request of the Tennessee Insurance Department,*fn1 entering a 90-day stay against all litigation in Tennessee that was either pending against, or being defended by, DIR. The Tennessee injunction then was made applicable to Mississippi litigation against DIR by the Chancery Court of Hinds County, Mississippi, which allegedly issued an order "granting full faith and credit and comity to [the State of Tennessee's] order of rehabilitation and injunction." Page 2

  Even assuming the accuracy and legal sufficiency of Dr. Lucas's allegations,*fn2 the motion is denied as moot. The State of Tennessee's original 90-day injunction (and the related Mississippi court order) would have expired on or about April 30, 2003 — several months ago — and Dr. Lucas has presented no evidence that the injunction was extended. In so ruling, the Court expresses no view on the merits of this application, although it is far from clear, were a state injunction currently in effect, that Dr. Lucas would prevail. See Royal & Sunalliance Ins. Co. of America v. Settlement Health & Med. Serv., Inc., 2000 WL 679788 (S.D.N.Y. 2000).

  SO ORDERED.


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