Colorable Federal Officer Defense Leads to Denial of Remand in Shipyard Mesothelioma Case

United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

Plaintiff Jesse Hernandez filed suit against several defendants alleging he developed mesothelioma while working summers in 1968, 1969 and 1970 at the Avondale Shipyard as a painter’s helper and assistant clerk. During his deposition, he recalled working on board several vessels in the main yard and U.S. Navy destroyers. The defendants removed the case based on federal officer removal. Plaintiff moved to remand.

The Court quickly concluded that the defendants had a colorable federal defense. Relying on …

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Remand Granted After Finding that Removal Period was Triggered by Plaintiffs’ Discovery Responses

NEW YORK – The plaintiffs sued dozens of defendants, including Cleaver-Brooks, alleging that Frederick Brown developed an asbestos-related injury as a result of exposure to the defendant’s products. The complaint was filed in July 2017. The plaintiff served answers to interrogatories in October 2017. The responses stated in pertinent part “…While performing my sheet metal worker duties, I was exposed to asbestos from the work I did as well as from the work of tradesmen around and in close proximity to me who were cleaning, …

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On Reversal, Aircraft Manufacturer Successfully Obtains Removal on Federal Officer Grounds

ILLINOIS – The plaintiffs Bruce and Barbara Betzner (plaintiffs) commenced a lawsuit in Illinois State Court (Madison County) against, among other defendants, Boeing Company (Boeing), alleging that, during the course of the plaintiff Bruce Betzner’s (Mr. Betzner) employment, he was exposed to asbestos-containing products, resulting in his mesothelioma diagnosis. With particular regard to Boeing, the plaintiffs allege that Mr. Betzner’s assembly of heavy bomber aircraft for the United State Air Force, which involved the installation of Boeing components, exposed him to asbestos.

Boeing filed a …

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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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Shipyard Defendants Establish a Colorable Federal Defense in Mesothelioma Case; Remand Denied

NEW JERSEY — The plaintiff filed suit on behalf of her decedent Robert Fish alleging he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos products of the defendants. Specifically, the plaintiff believed Mr. Fish was exposed to joiner panels while working onboard the USS Savannah for New York Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. The dfendants removed the matter to federal court asserting the federal officer removal statute. The plaintiff moved to remand.

The court began its review by noting the standard for federal officer removal. …

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Concrete Factual Information Starts the 30-Day Removal Clock

ILLINOIS — In September 2016, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and in September 2017, he filed suit against a defendant, and a number of other parties, alleging his illness was caused by exposure to asbestos. The plaintiff claimed that his exposure occurred between 1970 and 2004 while he was serving in the United States Air Force, working as a commercial airline mechanic, and/or engaging in home remodeling and other activities.

The defendant was served with the plaintiff’s complaint on September 21, 2017 and filed …

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Federal Officer Removal Statute Found Inapplicable in Negligence Claim Against Shipyard Defendant; Remand Granted

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Gregory Brown brought this action against several defendants including Avondale Shipyard (Avondale) claiming that he developed lung cancer from exposure to asbestos while working for Avondale at its shipyard on and off from 1967-1971. Specifically, Mr. Brown worked as a cleanup man, tacker, and insulator helper. He also claimed exposure to asbestos from his employment for other employers from 1965- 1978. The plaintiff was deposed and gave testimony regarding his work on ships while at Avondale but did not state that …

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Lack of Causal Nexus Leads to Grant of Remand Against Shipyard Defendant

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff filed suit against several Defendants including Avondale Shipyards. James Latiolais allegedly developed mesothelioma from his work as a machinist onboard the USS Tappahannock. Avondale removed the case after the plaintiff’s deposition concluded. The removal was made pursuant to Federal Officer Removal Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1442 (a)(1). The plaintiff moved to remand.

The court began its analysis by discussing the elements associated with Federal Officer Removal. First, the defendant must meet the criteria of being a “person” which includes corporations like …

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Remand Affirmed Due to Lack of Causal Nexus in Take-Home Exposure Case

LOUISIANA — The Legendre brothers filed suit in Louisiana State Court on behalf of their sister, Mary Jane Wilde, who died from complications related to mesothelioma. Their father, Percy Legendre, worked at a shipyard owned and operated by Huntington Ingalls, Inc. (Avondale) and was allegedly exposed to asbestos. The plaintiffs further alleged that Mary Jane was exposed to asbestos via fibers that were on her father’s work clothes and this exposure caused her to develop mesothelioma.

Defendant Avondale invoked the federal officer removal statute and …

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Second Motion to Remand Denied When Plaintiff Asserted Claims She Previously Waived

OREGON — The plaintiff initially filed her lawsuit on behalf of her father’s estate, in Oregon state court, alleging he was exposed to asbestos while working at Norwest Marine & Iron Works Shipyard and Albina Engine & Machine Works Shipyard. Both shipyards serviced military and civilian vessels. Neither the original nor amended complaints contained specific ship information. Defendants GE and CBS removed to federal court based upon the federal officer removal statute after plaintiff provided a ship list. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand, …

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