Maritime Case Remanded Due to Denial to Exercise Ancillary Jurisdiction

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, August 31, 2021

In this asbestos action, plaintiff Jerome Gehant served in the U.S. Navy from 1967 until 1970 and subsequently for several employers, including McDermott, Inc. from 1984 until 1999. He alleges that his exposure to asbestos during his service and employment on ships resulted in his diagnosis of mesothelioma. He filed a petition for damages in state court (the Nineteenth Judicial District Court for the Eastern District of East Baton Rouge). Specifically, Gehant alleged …

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Shipyard’s Removal to Federal Court Granted Based on New Case Law

In a case previously covered by Asbestos Case Tracker, the court granted plaintiff’s motion to remand after Avondale removed this case to federal court. In this instant matter, defendant Avondale  again removed this case relying on the Fifth Circuit’s opinion in Latiolais v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc., a case in which it overturned the court’s prior “causal nexus” jurisprudence and adopted a broader “relating to” test. The plaintiff again moves for remand arguing (1) that the defendant’s removal was untimely and (2) that the …

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Remand Denied Based on Recent Decision on Federal Officer Removal Statute

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, June 10, 2020

Plaintiff William Hulin alleged he contracted lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos containing products for which the defendants were liable. Specifically, he believed he had been exposed to asbestos while working as a tacker welder at Avondale Industries from 1956 to 1973. Prior to filing the complaint, the plaintiff filed an ex parte petition to take his deposition.  The plaintiff’s deposition was taken on October 3, 2019 and was circulated …

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Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File Second Supplemental & Amended Complaint Granted

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Victor Michel, filed suit in Louisiana State Civil Court against 29 defendants on July 28, 2017. Specifically, the plaintiff sought damages from the defendant, Ford Motor Company, as an asbestos miner, manufacturer, seller, supplier, or distributor. In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that between 1968 and 1969, he worked as a mechanic at Crescent Ford in New Orleans, Louisiana where he conducted routine maintenance on vehicles, including changing brakes and clutches and overhauling engines. The plaintiff also alleged employer and premises …

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Plaintiff Granted Remand After Shipyard’s Removal to Federal Court

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Denis Schexnayder, alleged that he contracted lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos from multiple defendants, including Avondale. The plaintiff brought suit against Avondale for its failure to warn about asbestos hazards and provide adequate safety equipment and procedures. The plaintiff alleged that he and his father performed work at the Avondale shipyard pursuant to contracts between Avondale and the United States government for the construction of vessels. These contracts included requirements that Avondale use asbestos-containing materials.

On July …

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U.S. Supreme Court Decision Quells Disagreement Over Bare Metal Defense in Maritime Cases

In the past few years, the bare metal defense has seen inconsistent and nebulous holdings around the nation. The bare metal defense vindicates an asbestos defendant that manufactured a product that was made of only metal without asbestos but later utilized asbestos components within its products. The defense is commonly seen amongst pump and valve manufacturers and also in United States Navy cases, thereby implicating maritime law. Examples of trial courts granting summary judgment for the defense only to be overturned on appeal are readily …

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Second Notice of Removal by Pump Defendant Found Timely Despite Administrative Close of Original Action

NEW YORK – The plaintiff Francis Keating filed suit against dozens of companies alleging he contracted lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos containing products for which the defendants were liable. Specifically, he believed he had been exposed to asbestos while working as a machinist in the United States Navy from 1953-1974 and while working for Eastman Kodak and Motorola as a refrigeration technician during the 1970s and 1980s. Aurora Pump Co. contacted the plaintiff and sought the plaintiff’s consent for the entry …

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Motion to Remand Denied Despite Disclaimer Regarding Federal Officer Jurisdiction

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Terry Bondurant, alleged that his mesothelioma was caused in part by his service as a welder for the United States Navy aboard the USS Ticonderoga, and by his work as an electrician in civilian refineries and chemical plants. The plaintiff brought strict liability failure to warn and design defect claims against defendants GE and Westinghouse and others in Louisiana State Court, but specifically disclaimed “any cause of action for injury caused by exposure on a federal enclave and by any act …

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Remand Granted After Shipyard Defendant Fails to Establish Causal Nexus Required By Federal Officer Removal Statute

LOUISIANA — The plaintiffs filed this action against many defendants including Huntington Ingalls (Avondale) alleging their decedent contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working at Avondale Shipyard from 1964-1972. Avondale removed the case asserting Federal Officer Removal Statute. The plaintiff moved to remand arguing that Avondale could not satisfy the elements required under Federal Officer Removal Statute.

According to the court, Avondale must show that it 1) that the person is within the meaning of the statute 2) that it has …

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Elements for Removal Found Under Federal Officer Jurisdiction in Take-Home Mesothelioma Case

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff filed suit against several defendants including Kaiser Aluminum (Kaiser) and Huntington Ingalls (Avondale) alleging her mother, Dolores Punch, contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos while washing the work clothes of her husband and son. Mr. Punch worked as a pipefitter and welder at Avondale Shipyard from 1948-1960 and at Kaiser Aluminum from 1961-1967 handling the same material. The decedent’s son also worked as a helper and pipefitter at Avondale from 1976-1979.  Avondale removed the suit to federal court asserting the Federal …

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