Broad Interpretation of the Federal Officer Removal Statute Keeps Case Against Boeing in Federal Court

The plaintiff filed a failure-to-warn product liability suit against, among others, The Boeing Company, after his wife Mary became ill from alleged secondary asbestos exposure. Boeing removed to federal court based upon the federal officer removal statute. The district court remanded, and the appellate court reversed.

The plaintiff alleged Mary suffered take home asbestos exposure through laundering the clothes of her first husband Robert Keck. While working for New Brunswick Plating Co. in the late 1970s, Keck sandblasted the landing gear of World War II …

Continue Reading

Federal Court Denies Remand on Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act Jurisdiction and Dismisses Fraud Counts of Complaint

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana issued two opinions in the matter of Sheppard v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., et al. which denied the plaintiffs’ motion to remand and dismissed the plaintiffs’ fraud cause of action against the defendants.

Plaintiff Jesse Frank Sheppard originally filed in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. Sheppard alleged that he developed lung cancer and/or mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos while working for Freeport Sulphur Company. The plaintiff sued …

Continue Reading

Denial of Administrative Dismissal Turns on Definition of a “Smoker” Under Ohio State Code

Plaintiff Bobby Turner and his wife commenced an action in April 2013 alleging asbestos exposure caused his lung cancer. The plaintiff was a drywall finisher from 1962 to 1978. Defendant Union Carbide moved to administratively dismiss the claim in February 2014, claiming that the plaintiffs failed to submit prima facie evidence pursuant to R.C. 2307.92. (Under Ohio’s Revised Code General Provisions a plaintiff must meet minimum medical requirements for tort actions alleging an asbestos claim). In response, the plaintiffs submitted an affidavit saying that Mr. …

Continue Reading

Government Contractor Defense Applied to Crane Such That Motion to Remand to State Court Denied

The decedent’s family filed a complaint in state court, which was removed to federal court by Crane Co. based upon the federal officer defense. The plaintiffs filed a motion to remand or, in the alternative, to sever all claims other than those against Crane and to remand all other claims. The motion to remand was denied.

The decedent served in the Navy from 1952-56, and was then employed at Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Shipyard from 1956-59; from 1959-63, the decedent worked as a laborer at …

Continue Reading

Case Remanded to State Court as Defendants Could Not Use the Federal Officer Removal Statute Where the Plaintiff Expressly Disclaimed Any Naval Asbestos Exposure

Plaintiff Richard Batchelor, a former employee of Florida Power & Light Company who was diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma after he was exposed to and inhaled asbestos fibers from asbestos-containing products manufactured, sold, supplied, distributed, or controlled, by the defendants, sued in the Circuit Court for the 11th Judicial District in and for Miami-Dade County Florida alleging three causes of action; (i) negligence; (ii) strict liability; and (iii) loss of consortium. Following Batchelor’s deposition, during which he testified that he served in the U.S. Navy and, …

Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Upholds Summary Judgment on Substantial Factor Causation and Affirms Denial of Remand Based on Federal Officer Jurisdiction

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion in two consolidated appeals upholding the granting of summary judgment to defendants CBS Corporation, General Electric Corporation (GE), MCIC (local insulation contractor), Paramount Packing & Rubber Company, Phelps Packing & Rubber Company, SB Decking, Inc., Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement Trust (local insulation contractor), and Foster-Wheeler Energy Corporation. The two consolidated cases involved alleged exposures to dust asbestos-containing products manufactured, supplied, or installed by the defendants at Baltimore, Maryland area shipyards.

On appeal, …

Continue Reading

Case Remanded Where GE Failed to Satisfy Requirements of Federal Officer Removal Due to Plaintiff’s Specific Disclaimer of No Naval Asbestos Exposure

In this case, the plaintiff claimed that he was exposed to asbestos and contracted mesothelioma from products allegedly manufactured, supplied, installed, and/or distributed by numerous defendants. The plaintiff asserted in the complaint that he served in the U.S. Navy from 1962–66 but provided the disclaimer that the “[p]laintiff was not exposed to asbestos and is not bringing any claim for exposure to asbestos-containing products during Plaintiff’s service in the Navy.”

One of the defendants, General Electric Company (GE), removed the case to the U.S. District …

Continue Reading

Defendant’s Failure to Warn Boilermaker Employees in the Shipyard Itself Prohibited Federal Contractor Defense

The decedent in this case died of mesothelioma and his representatives filed an action in state court. Defendant Foster Wheeler removed this case to federal court under the officer removal statute. The plaintiff moved to remand, which the court granted.

The plaintiffs alleged exposure during the decedent’s work at Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Shipyard, while working as a boiler maker from 1948-1970s. Foster Wheeler removed on the basis that it was acting under an officer or agency of the United States, because it made boilers …

Continue Reading

Federal Court of Appeals Remands Case for Determination of Colorable Federal Defenses Alleged by Shipyard

In this case, the plaintiffs’ decedent claimed exposure to asbestos containing thermal insulation while working at the Avondale Shipyard in Louisiana as laborer and painter from 1948-1996. The shipyard at issued worked on contracts for the federal government.

The defendants removed the case under federal officer removal and took the position that removal was proper since the government, through Navy inspectors, was involved in the building of the ships and had control of safety issues during construction. The plaintiffs, on the other hand, argued that …

Continue Reading

Case Against Crane Remanded to State Court Based on Lack of Evidence of the Exercise of Government Discretion Under the Federal Officer Removal Statute

In this case, the plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure from various sources, including from his time aboard Naval vessels during the Korean War. Defendant Crane removed the case to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.1442(a)(1), the federal officer removal statute.  The plaintiff moved to remand the case, arguing that Crane did not meet the standard to remove under the statute.

In opposition to the remand, Crane submitted a 2011 affidavit from one of its officers stating that “the manufacture of equipment for use on Navy vessels …

Continue Reading