Case Remanded to State Court as Shipyard Defendant Fails to Show Causal United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana, August 1, 2018

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Terry Brady alleged that his lung cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos while working aboard U.S. Navy vessels from 1968-1989. During the plaintiff’s time aboard the USS Robert A. Owens, the ship docked at a shipyard operated by defendant Avondale Shipyards. The plaintiff filed this matter in state court, alleging that the defendants failed to warn of the hazards of asbestos, failed to provide a safe environment, and failed to employ safe procedures for handling asbestos. Avondale removed the case to federal court, asserting that the plaintiff’s claims were related to acts performed under the color of federal office.

In evaluating the plaintiff’s motion to remand, the court determined that Avondale failed to present any evidence that demonstrated that the U.S. Navy had control over safety procedures at the shipyard during the time it worked on the USS Robert A. Owens. Further, Avondale failed to demonstrate that the government prohibited warnings about the risks of asbestos. Absent this showing, the court determined that Avondale did not show a causal nexus between their actions under color of federal office and Plaintiff’s negligence claims. Accordingly, it declined to find federal jurisdiction and remanded the case to the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans.

Read the full case decision here.

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