Regardless of Whether New York or Maritime Law Applied, Government Contractor and Bare Metal Defenses Insufficient to Grant Summary Judgment to Foster Wheeler U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, March 21, 2016

The plaintiff alleged the decedent was exposed to asbestos while serving in the Navy from 1947-52, and while on board the USS Charles H. Roan. Defendants Foster Wheeler and General Electric removed to federal court pursuant to the federal officer statute. Foster Wheeler moved for summary judgment based on: (1) the government contractor defense; (2) bare metal defense; and (3) its products were not a substantial factor in causing injury. Crane Co. also moved for summary judgment; Crane, CBS Corp., and Foster Wheeler also…
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On Remand, Federal Court Again Grants Summary Judgment on Plaintiff’s Maritime and State Law Claims U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, February 8, 2016

In this federal court case, the court’s jurisdiction was based solely on the plaintiff’s assertion of maritime jurisdiction as set forth in in his fourth amended complaint. The plaintiff brought claims against 54 defendants that manufactured asbestos-containing products that the decedent, Christopher Curtis, was allegedly exposed to in three different situations: From 1955-58 while he served in the Navy, while employed as an electrician for 40 years, and while performing maintenance on his automobiles. The plaintiff settled against many of the 54 defendants, and other…
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Prior Release Found Inadequate to Dismiss Future Jones Act/FELA Claims Based on Development of Mesothelioma Supreme Court of New York, New York County, January 4, 2016

In this NYCAL case, the Maritime Asbestos Legal Clinic originally filed a suit in 1997 on behalf of the decedent, Mason South, in the Northern District of Ohio. The decedent served in the Merchant Marines from 1945 to 1982. Less than two months later the case settled, with Texaco Inc. being one of the settled defendants. In 2014, the decedent was diagnosed with and died from complications related to mesothelioma. In 2015, the decedent’s wife commenced another action under the Jones Act arising from her…
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Valve Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment under Maritime Law Based on Lack of Causation U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, January 5, 2016

In this federal court action, it is alleged that the decedent, Richard Bell, was exposed to asbestos during his service in the Navy where he served on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1961 to 1962. Velan Valve Corp. moved for summary judgment asserting maritime law. The plaintiff did not oppose the application of maritime law. The court went on to analyze the application of maritime law and found it applied in the case. The court then went on to grant Velan summary judgment, stating…
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Previously Dismissed Federal Maritime Case Against Ship Owners on Personal Jurisdiction Grounds Subsequently Dismissed in NYCAL; Court Finds There Was No Tolling of Statute of Limitations Supreme Court of New York, New York County, December 10, 2015

In this NYCAL decision, it was alleged that the decedent, Eugene Quinlan, was exposed to asbestos and developed lung cancer from his work as a career merchant mariner. The case was originally filed in 1997 in the Northern District of Ohio for a non-malignant asbestos disease. The decedent subsequently developed lung cancer and the case was assigned to the MultiDistrict Litigation (MDL), which included the Maritime Docket cases (MARDOC), and laid dormant for seventeen years. In 2014, the case was assigned to the Eastern District…
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Turbine Manufacturer Entitled to Summary Judgment Under Both Maritime Law and New Jersey State Law U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, December 22, 2015

The plaintiff in this case,  Samuel Feaster, alleged exposure to asbestos while employed at a shipyards in New Jersey and  Pennsylvania. Defendant General Electric Company (GE) moved for summary judgment based on maritime law arguing that there was no evidence that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos from a product manufactured or supplied by them. The court applied maritime law and granted GE’s motion. The court stated that under maritime law, the plaintiff must show that he was exposed to the defendant’s products and the…
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Applying Maritime Law, Plaintiff Unable to Provide Sufficient Evidence Linking Decedent to Any John Crane Product U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, November 24, 2015

In this federal court case it was alleged that the decedent, Richard Bell, was exposed to asbestos while serving on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1960-64.  Defendant John Crane Inc. moved for summary judgment, arguing that maritime law applies and the plaintiff’s evidence fails to prove that decedent was exposed to any of its asbestos-containing products or that the products were a substantial factor in decedent’s lung cancer. The plaintiff did not oppose the application of maritime law.  The court spelled out that for…
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Maritime Law Applied to Plaintiffs’ Claims and State Court Filing Retained Plaintiffs’ Right to a Jury Trial U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, October 21, 2015

In this federal court case, defendant Crane asserted that state law should apply to some aspects of plaintiffs’ claims, while the parties appeared to agree that maritime law applied generally to the matter.  The court examined this case sua sponte on the issue of whether maritime or state law governed the remaining claims of the plaintiffs, and whether the plaintiffs have a right to a jury trial.  The court found that maritime law applied and trial would be before a jury. In applying the locality…
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Federal Court Grants and Denies Various Summary Judgment Motions, Based on Maritime and Civil Law U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, September 30, 2015

Defendants Crown Cork & Seal, CBS Corporation, General Electric, Crane Co., Gardner Denver, John Crane, Link-Belt Construction Equipment, and Riley Power filed motions for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The case had been removed to federal court pursuant to the Federal Officer Removal Statue. The plaintiff alleged he developed pleural mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure during Naval service and while employed by Louisville Gas & Electric. Many other defendants moved for summary judgment on other grounds; this case addressed those…
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Court Applies Admiralty Jurisdiction to Grant Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, September 30, 2015

The plaintiff brought a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) alleging asbestos exposure while a crew member on two tugboats the Navy leased to his employer, General Dynamics Corporation. The plaintiff also brought a products liability claim under Connecticut law, and his wife brought a loss of consortium claim. The defendant moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction under the FTCA, because the lawsuit sounds in admiralty, for which a suit under the Suits in Admiralty Act (SIAA) or the Public Vessels Act…
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