Plaintiffs’ State Law Tort Claims against Employer and Insurers Preempted by LHWCA

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, June 16, 2022

In this asbestos matter, the plaintiffs allege that James Becnel was exposed to asbestos at the Avondale Shipyards in 1965. Recently, several defendants filed summary judgment motions to dismiss the plaintiffs’ state law tort claims, including Becnel’s employer and its insurers. The defendants alleged that the plaintiffs’ state law tort claims were preempted by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Ultimately, the court agreed as “the LHWCA preempts a plaintiff’s occupational …

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Court Dismisses Plaintiffs’ International Tort Claim Against Outside Contractor; Finds Issues of Fact For Jury on Outside Contractor’s Alter Ego Liability

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, June 8, 2022

In April 2022, Hopeman filed the instant motion for partial summary judgment arguing that the plaintiffs’ intentional tort claim must be dismissed because they cannot provide evidentiary support that it consciously desired to afflict the decedent with primary lung cancer or knew that his cancer was substantially certain to follow from its actions. The plaintiffs opposed, arguing that Hopeman knew of the hazards of asbestos and that the decedent’s disease was substantially …

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Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment on General Causation Granted as Against Various Defendants

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, April 18, 2022

In this case, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment as to general causation of his mesothelioma diagnosis. Eight defendants filed five oppositions to the plaintiff’s motion; however, they largely did not challenge the plaintiff’s mesothelioma diagnosis or asbestos as its cause. Rather, they contested specific causation or “the sources of plaintiff’s exposure, the asbestos fiber types to which he was exposed, and whether particular products or defendants are responsible for causing his …

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Federal Court Exercises Supplemental Jurisdiction in Shipyard Case

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, March 17, 2022

In this asbestos action, decedent Joseph B. Savoie, Jr. developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at the Avondale Shipyards. Certain defendants removed this matter to federal court in 2015. Following the plaintiff’s motion to remand, the Fifth Circuit held that removal was proper as the “Avondale Interests presented a colorable defense of federal contractor immunity” in 2017. The Avondale Interests were dismissed in 2021. Thereafter, the plaintiffs filed a motion to remand …

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Electric Product Manufacturer Successful on Summary Judgment After Court Finds No Evidence of Exposure to Defendant’s Products

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, March 14, 2022               

The plaintiff, Marsha Roussell, filed an asbestos-related lawsuit alleging that she was secondarily exposed to asbestos via work performed by her father, Asward Theriot, and her uncle, Tracy Theriot, which caused her to be diagnosed with mesothelioma. Plaintiff alleged her father and uncle worked with products manufactured by defendant ViacomCBS, Inc., f/k/a CBS Corporation, f/k/a Viacom Inc., successor by merger to CBS Corporation, f/k/a Westinghouse Electric Corporation while employed at Avondale Shipyard at …

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Court Finds Coworker Testimony Sufficient as to Alleged Exposure to Third-Party Defendant’s Product

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, February 11, 2022

The decedent died of mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos. The decedent’s husband allegedly exposed the decedent by wearing clothing covered in asbestos fibers from his work as a laborer and welder at Avondale. The decedent’s heirs filed suit against several defendants.  

Avondale asserted a Third-Party Demand against Amchem, claiming entitlement to virile share contributions depending on the outcome of the plaintiffs’ lawsuit. Amchem moved for summary judgment on Avondale’s claims.

While Amchem never …

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Employer’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment under Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act is Denied

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, December 20, 2021

The plaintiff filed suit alleging that he was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos spanning from the 1950s to 1980s, including take-home exposure from his father’s and brother’s work at Avondale Shipyards, personal exposure from his own work at Avondale from 1969 to 1972, and person exposure from his work for the defendant, Pelnor, from 1974 to 1983.

Pelnor filed a motion for partial summary judgment arguing that the …

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Motion to Remand Granted as Plaintiff Did Not Voluntarily Abandon Claim During Closing Arguments

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, November 18, 2021

In this asbestos action, the plaintiff Willard Masters commenced an action in Louisiana state court alleging negligence claims against several defendants following his development of mesothelioma. While the defendant Taylor-Seidenbach, Inc. is not diverse from Masters, the defendant Graybar Electric Company, Inc. is a New York corporation with its principal place of business in Missouri. Trial commenced and counsel for all three above-referenced parties gave closing statements to the jury.

The day after …

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Railroad Employer’s Summary Judgment Motion Denied as Plaintiff’s FELA Claim Not Precluded

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, November 10, 2021

In this asbestos action, plaintiff Dennis Bouck alleged that he developed mesothelioma as a result of repairing locomotives and locomotive parts while working for Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCSR) from 1964 to 2007.

The plaintiff commenced an action against KCSR, as well as various product manufacturers. The court previously found that the Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) preempted the plaintiff’s defective design and failure to warn state law claims against the product manufacturers. …

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Plaintiff Cannot Sustain Loss of Consortium Claim Related to Own Alleged Injuries

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, November 2, 2021

Plaintiff Ethel Sampey alleged that she was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of take-home exposure to asbestos from her uncle’s work at Avondale Shipyard from 1957 to 1965, and from her employment as a bartender at bars frequented by Avondale workers after their work in the shipyard from 1966 to 1979.

In her complaint she sought damages for, inter alia, loss of consortium, which includes “elements of loss of service, loss …

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