Lack of Personal Jurisdiction over Successor-in-Interest Defendant Leads to Dismissal in Environmental Contamination Case Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, July 25, 2018

NEW YORK — The plaintiffs filed suit against the defendants alleging damages for environmental contamination within the City of Rochester. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the successors in interest to the defendants caused contamination to their property throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. Defendant Valero Corporation (Valero) moved for dismissal of the plaintiff’s second amended complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion finding that the plaintiffs had established facts that demonstrated justification to “exercise” personal jurisdiction over Valero because “it was…
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New Jersey Talc Manufacturer’s Motion to Dismiss New York Case With Exposure In Virginia Granted Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, July 27, 2018

NEW YORK — The plaintiffs sued Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Johnson and Johnson Consumer Inc. (JJCI), alleging that Mrs. Hammock’s exposure to asbestos-containing J&J baby powder caused her to develop mesothelioma. Mrs. Hammock was a Virginia resident her entire life, and all of her alleged exposure took place in Virginia.   JJCI is the sole entity responsible for manufacturing and distributing J&J baby powder during the subject time period. JJCI is a New Jersey Corporation  with its principal place of business in New Jersey. JJCI…
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Joint Compound Defendant Dismissed for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction on Appeal District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District, July 25, 2018

FLORIDA — The plaintiff Steven Bolin alleged that he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos from his work with various products in Florida from 1969 to 1981. Specific to the appellant, Bolin’s amended complaint alleged that he used Southern Wall Products’ (SWP) joint compound while working as a laborer and/or construction worker in Florida in 1975-1977. SWP moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction, and in support, supplied an affidavit averring that SWP and its predecessor Ruco never had an office in…
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In-State Business Activities Unrelated to Asbestos Personal Injury Claims Ruled Insufficient to Confer Personal Jurisdiction Supreme Court of New York, June 16, 2018

NEW YORK – Newly appointed NYCAL Asbestos Coordinating Judge Manuel Mendez continued the recent trend of New York trial level decisions dismissing claims for lack of personal jurisdiction following  Bristol Myers Squibb Co. v. Supreme Court of California (2017) and Daimler AG v. Bauman (2014). In the matter of Irene Grabowski, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Alex Grabowski v. A.O. Smith Corporation, the plaintiff brought suit in New York State Court against The Scotts Company LLC (Scotts), alleging exposure from using Scotts…
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Seventh Circuit Upholds Dismiss of John Crane’s Fraud Suit Against Plaintiff’s Counsel Based Upon Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, June 4, 2018

ILLINOIS – John Crane filed separate lawsuits against two plaintiffs’ law firms, Shein Law Center and Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, alleging fraud, conspiracy and violations of the RICO Act related to asbestos lawsuits filed by the firms against John Crane. Shein Law Center is based in Pennsylvania, while Simon Greenstone is based in Texas. John Crane is an Illinois resident. John Crane filed suit against the firms in the Northern District of Illinois. The district court dismissed both matters due to a lack of personal…
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Motion to Dismiss Based Upon Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Denied in Maritime Case Motion to Dismiss Based Upon Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Denied in Maritime Case, May 18, 2018

LOUISIANA —  The plaintiff, Robert Schindler, filed suit against Dravo Basic Materials Company, Inc. (Dravo), to recover for injuries caused by his development of mesothelioma from allegedly being exposed to asbestos while working for three months in 1973 on a ship owned by Dravo. The ship was operated in Lake Pontchartrain during the relevant time period. The plaintiff filed his complaint under maritime law on November 21, 2017. Dravo responded by filing a motion to dismiss based upon a lack of personal jurisdiction. Dravo argued…
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Court Finds Jurisdictional Discovery Relevant to Specific Jurisdiction Inquiry U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, March 23, 2018

LOUISIANA — In this case, the plaintiff filed suit in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, alleging the Decedent William Leech was diagnosed with mesothelioma on January 11, 2016 and passed away on January 14, 2016. The plaintiff further alleges the decedent was a construction engineer who worked with and was exposed to asbestos at numerous job sites in Louisiana, California, Arizona, Virginia, and other states from approximately 1965 through 1992, including the Morton Salty facility in Weeks Island,…
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Pennsylvania Statute Authorized General Personal Jurisdiction if Foreign Corporation Registered in Pennsylvania U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, March 19, 2018

PENNSYLVANIA — The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that the defendants were subject to general personal jurisdiction due to the consent provision in Pennsylvania’s long-arm statute. The facts are as follows: the plaintiff, Thomas Gorton, alleged he developed mesothelioma as a result of his work at various phone companies and from changing automobile brakes. None of the alleged exposure took place in Pennsylvania. The case was filed in state court and removed to federal court. Defendants Ford Motor Company, Pacific…
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Plaintiffs’ Motion for Reconsideration of Dismissals Based Upon Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Denied U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, January 11, 2018

MISSOURI — On June 27, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted several defendants’ motions to dismiss based upon a lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiffs subsequently filed a motion to reconsider due to an intervening change in the law, specifically the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) opinion issued on June 19, 2017. The court noted that such motions, filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59, cannot be used to raise arguments which could have been raised…
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Magistrate Judge Recommends No Personal Jurisdiction Over Exelon Corporation in Delaware U.S. District Court of Delaware, September 14, 2017

DELAWARE — Plaintiffs Michael and Sally Harding filed claims in Delaware state court due to Michael Harding’s exposure to asbestos while working as a pipefitter for the United States Navy from 1963-67. Defendant Crane Co. removed to federal court. Defendant Exelon Corporation moved for dismissal due to lack of personal jurisdiction. Exelon was not a Delaware business entity and did not have a principal place of business in Delaware.  The plaintiffs did not respond to Exelon’s motion to dismiss. The magistrate judge recommended granting this…
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