Judge chamber with gavel

Removal of Case Based on the Federal Officer Removal Statute by Shipyard Defendant Upheld

United States District Court for the District of Louisiana

In this asbestos action, the plaintiff, Wilson Goffner Sr., alleged he developed lung cancer as a result of his work as a shipfitter at the Avondale Shipyard from 1974 to 1997. The plaintiff commenced this action by asserting a failure-to-warn cause of action. Avondale subsequently removed the matter to federal court.

The plaintiff subsequently filed a motion to remand, wherein he argued that Avondale did not satisfy the ‘colorable’ defense prong of the Federal Officer Removal …

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Defendants’ Corporate Representatives’ Testimony Condemns own Motions

United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, October 31, 2022

Plaintiffs brought this wrongful death and survival action on behalf of decedent Kirk Reulet, alleging that Mr. Reulet was exposed to asbestos while working as a tradesman at various marine-economy jobs from 1972 to 2013. Plaintiffs alleged that this exposure led to his mesothelioma diagnosis and eventual death, and sought damages from dozens of defendants, including employers, premise owners, asbestos manufacturers or supplies, and insurers.

Defendants General Electric Company and ViacomCBS Inc. …

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Third-Parties Prevail on Summary Judgment Thanks to Employer’s Lack of Evidence

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, October 24, 2022

Plaintiff Ronald John Falgout, as the independent executor and successor of decedent Ruby Lee Marie Falgout, brought this action in October 2022 after Falgout succumbed to the fatal effects of mesothelioma in August 2022. The plaintiff alleged that the decedent’s secondary exposure from asbestos fibers on his work clothes caused her cancer diagnosis. The plaintiff worked as a laborer, operator, oil king, and rainmaker at the Avondale Shipyards from 1965 to 1979. He …

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Court Grants in Part and Defends in Part Defendants’ Omnibus Motion in Limine

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, October 24, 2022

The plaintiffs brought this asbestos exposure case alleging decedent Callen Cortez contracted mesothelioma following extensive exposure throughout his career as well as secondhand exposure from his father and brothers.  Defendants included asbestos-related manufacturers, premise owners, and employers.  The defendants filed an omnibus motion in limine prior to trial.

Firstly, defendants moved to prohibit plaintiffs from characterizing them all as “asbestos companies,” or members of the “asbestos industry,” on the grounds that this …

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Plaintiffs Granted Partial Summary Judgment Based on “Substantial Factor” Standard

United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, October 21, 2022

The plaintiffs allege that Decedent Kirk Reulet was asbestos to asbestos throughout his 45-year career. The plaintiffs seek summary judgment on two issues: First whether Decedent developed mesothelioma prior to his death; and second, whether mesothelioma resulted in his death.

In December 2018, Decedent was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. Decedent died two weeks later on January 2, 2019. Decedent’s death certificate lists four “diseases, injuries, or complications … that directly caused the …

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Bankruptcy Stay Applies to Direct Actions against Insurers in “Limited Circumstances” where Numerous Asbestos Claims are Pending

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Louisiana, October 19, 2022

The plaintiffs brought a wrongful death and survival action for damages related to the death of their decedent in 2019. Decedent had a forty-five year career as a welder in the marine industry which was alleged to have resulted in his exposure to asbestos. The plaintiffs sought damages from numerous defendants, including Decedents former employers, owners of work sites, asbestos manufacturers and distributors who were alleged to have provided products to decedents worksites, and insurers. …

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Partial Summary Judgment Granted, Rejecting Government Immunity Defense of Shipyard defendants

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana   

Plaintiff Linda Crossland alleged take-home exposure to asbestos from her husband’s clothing while he was employed at the Avondale Shipyards, where he was responsible for constructing and repairing vessels.  Plaintiff sued numerous defendants, alleging they negligently failed to warn her husband about the dangers of asbestos and failed to provide him with safe premises.  Avondale removed the action to federal court, relying on “government contractor immunity” established by Boyle and the “derivative sovereign immunity” defense set …

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Government Contractor Defense Inapplicable to Plaintiff’s Failure to Warn and Prevent the Spread of Asbestos Claims

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, October 12, 2022

In this asbestos action, Plaintiff Ruby Lee Marie Falgout (“Plaintiff”) alleged take-home exposure from laundering her husband’s clothes while he worked around Hopeman employees cut and installed asbestos wall board at the Avondale Shipyards (“Avondale”). The plaintiff filed a motion for partial summary judgment barring Avondale from availing itself of the government contractor defense. The plaintiff contended that Avondale’s failure to warn was discretionary. The plaintiff also argued that the court should …

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Summary Judgment Denied as Court Finds Issues of Material Fact in Shipbuilder’s Claim

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, September 23, 2022

In April 2020, Paul Hotard (“decedent”) received a mesothelioma diagnosis despite never handling or working with asbestos-containing materials while employed at the Avondale Shipyards.  While employed, decedent’s duties consisted of handing pipe to the pipefitters and tacking pipe together for a welder to weld.  Nevertheless, decedent brought this action alleging the inhalation of asbestos fibers during vessel construction at Avondale caused his malignant pleural mesothelioma diagnosis.  Mr. Hotard died in September 2021 and his widow …

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Business and lawyers discussing contract papers with brass scale on desk

Summary Judgment Affirmed for Trailer Manufacturer

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit, September 28, 2022

In this asbestos action, John Brindell (“Brindell”) allegedly contracted mesothelioma as a result of working as a mechanic for Puerto Rico Marine Management, Inc. (“PRMMI”) at the Port of New Orleans. Brindell’s surviving spouse and children (“Plaintiffs”) asserted a wrongful death and survival action against several defendants. Defendant CRA Trailers, Inc. f/k/a Great Dane Trailers, Inc. (“CRA/Great Dane”) moved for summary judgment, arguing that CRA/Great Dane trailers were not present at the Port during Brindell’s …

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