Louisiana District Court Upholds Federal Officer Removal Following Recent Fifth Circuit Precedent

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has issued its first remand decision following the Fifth Circuit’s clarification of removal under the Federal Officer Removal Statute in February 2020.

Plaintiff, Edward J. Boudreaux, Jr. alleged, among other things, that he was exposed to asbestos while working as a welder, pipefitter, and laborer at the Avondale shipyards between 1963 and 1969. Plaintiff filed suit against numerous defendants, several of which represented the interests of the …

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Remand in Meso Case Denied Upon Finding that Common Defense Exception Inapplicable

U.S. District Court C.D. of Illinois, February 25, 2020

ILLINOIS – The plaintiff sued several defendants alleging that Roy Hicks developed mesothelioma as a result of his exposure to asbestos for which the defendants were allegedly responsible. Specifically, Mr. Hicks alleged exposure to asbestos while working for the City of Bloomington, where he encountered asbestos from vehicles made by Ford, and others. He also alleged exposure to products from John Crane as a result of his wife’s work at General Electric. As trial approached, the …

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Fifth Circuit Clarifies Requirements Under Federal Officer Removal Statute

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, February 24, 2020

LOUISIANA — Noting that its precedents concerning the scope of the Federal Officer Removal Statute were “extraordinarily confusing,” in the matter of Latiolais v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc., the Fifth Circuit has aligned itself with sister circuits and clarified the requirements to remove a case to federal court. The salient facts follow.

The United States Navy contracted with the defendant-appellant, Avondale, in the 1960s and 1970s to build and refurbish naval vessels, and most of the …

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Court Grants Remand Based on Lack of Complete Diversity

United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois, February 20, 2020

ILLINOIS – The plaintiffs, Arland and Dina Wieland, originally filed the instant matter in the Circuit Court of the Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, alleging that Arland sustained injuries due to asbestos exposure. Trial in the matter started on Feb. 20, 2020 and on Feb. 19, the defendant ArvinMeritor removed the matter, asserting diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for remand. 

The plaintiffs are citizens of New Mexico. In their notice of removal, ArvinMeritor …

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Federal Court Declines to Find Improper Joinder of Non-Diverse Defendant

VIRGINIA – The plaintiffs, Raegena Boggs and Paul Boggs, residents of Colorado, filed their asbestos personal injury action in Kanawha County, West Virginia against numerous defendants, including Greyhound Lines, a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in Texas; ArvinMeritor, Inc., an Indiana corporation with a principal place of business in Michigan; Carlisle Companies, Inc., a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in Arizona; and Vimasco, a West Virginia corporation. The plaintiffs had resolved their claims with all of the defendants, except …

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Case Remanded as Res Judicata Bars Plaintiffs’ Survival Action

LOUISIANA – In 1982, Gistarve Joseph, Sr. filed suit against Avondale Industries, Inc., its executive officers, and their insurers seeking damages for occupational exposure to asbestos during his employment with Avondale between 1969 and 1982. He alleged that his exposure caused him to contract pneumoconiosis. In November 1985, Joseph settled his claims against Avondale executing a Restrictive Release and Discharge with Indemnification Agreement, which released Avondale, its executive officers, and their insurers:

“from any and all liability, claims, demands, liens, remedies, debts, rights, actions and …

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Johnson and Johnson Prevails at Motion to Transfer Venue

TENNESSEE –The plaintiff, Shawnee D. Douglas, filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Hamilton County, Tennessee against Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., f/k/a McNeil-PPC, Inc. and Imerys Talc America, Inc., f/k/a Luzenac America, Inc., alleging she was exposed to the defendants’ asbestos-containing or asbestos-contaminated talc. On September 26, 2017, Johnson & Johnson removed the case to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The plaintiff then filed suit in Missouri state court based on information connecting a Missouri entity, PTI …

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Plaintiff Granted Remand After Shipyard’s Removal to Federal Court

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Denis Schexnayder, alleged that he contracted lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos from multiple defendants, including Avondale. The plaintiff brought suit against Avondale for its failure to warn about asbestos hazards and provide adequate safety equipment and procedures. The plaintiff alleged that he and his father performed work at the Avondale shipyard pursuant to contracts between Avondale and the United States government for the construction of vessels. These contracts included requirements that Avondale use asbestos-containing materials.

On July …

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Allegation in Complaint of Exposure at Shipyard Renders Defendant’s Removal Untimely

LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Charles Merlin Parfait, Sr., alleged that he contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos during his work at the Avondale Shipyards from 1968 to 1978, and sued various defendants in state court in Orleans Parish Louisiana. The plaintiff alleged strict liability claims in his state court petition, but specifically disclaimed strict liability claims against Avondale Shipyards’ successor, Huntington Ingalls Incorporated.  Less than 30 days after the plaintiff’s deposition, Huntington Ingalls removed the case to federal court and claimed that the plaintiff’s deposition …

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California Case Removed During Jury Selection Sent Back to State Court

CALIFORNIA – The plaintiff, Arthur Putt, filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on December 3, 2018, alleging he developed mesothelioma from his use of automobile brakes. Among the 16 defendants sued were Ford, Pneumo Abex and Pep Boys. On August 7, 2019, jury selection began with Ford and Pep Boys participating. Pneumo Abex did not participate in the process, but the superior court had not dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against it. On August 8, the plaintiff’s counsel informed the superior court that the claims …

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