Lack of Successor Liability Leads to Grant of Summary Judgment for Shipping Defendant United States District Court, W.D. Washington. October 25, 2018

WASHINGTON — The plaintiffs filed suit against Maersk Line alleging their decedent, Mr. Klopman-Baerselman, was exposed to asbestos from 1955-1959 while working as a merchant marine onboard the Rotterdam Lloyd. The plaintiffs named Maersk as a successor in interest to the Royal Rotterdam Lloyd. The defendant moved for summary judgment arguing that it had no connection to the Rotterdam Lloyd. The plaintiff sought discovery including the deposition of Defendant’s corporate representative Steven Hadder. In the meantime, The defendants removed the case and Maersk moved for…
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Mass Action Remanded to Montana State Court Based Upon Local Controversy Exception U.S.D.C. for the District of Montana, October 15, 2018

MONTANA — Nearly two hundred plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Montana state court against BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) and its managing agent, John Swing. BNSF removed the cases as a mass action, as they all arose out of exposure from W.R. Grace’s operations in Libby, Montana. The plaintiffs were all Montana residents and argued the case was improperly removed because Mr. Swing was also a resident of the state. Magistrate Judge John Johnston entered Findings and Recommendations in the matter on January 23, 2018. Both…
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Defendant Fails to Meet Removal Requirements under 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a) United States District Court, C.D. California, September 19, 2018

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiff Randolph Morton (Plaintiff or Morton) filed this personal injury claim in California state court alleging that Morton’s asbestos-related disease was allegedly caused by the defendants’ acts and omissions involving the use of asbestos at or in the vicinity of Morton’s workplace. The defendant removed the case to federal court (United States District Court, Central District of California) based on federal office removal jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a).  Here, defendant seeks to put forth the government contractor defense, which outlines that…
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Lack of Federal Officer Subject Matter Jurisdiction Leads to Grant of Remand and Award of Fees

The plaintiff filed this action alleging he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos for which the defendants were liable. Specifically, The plaintiff claimed exposure while serving in the United States Navy onboard the U.S.S. Tortuga from 1956-1959. Defendant Aurora Pump Company (Aurora) removed the case the federal court asserting Federal Officer Removal. The plaintiffs moved to remand. The court began its analysis by stating that removal may be invoked when a defendant establishes that 1) that it is a person within the…
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Proper Removal Based Upon Diversity Jurisdiction When Clearly No Case Against Non-Diverse Defendant United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, August 28, 2018

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Victor Michel filed a personal injury suit in Louisiana state court alleging that his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos during his work as a parts delivery driver, truck mechanic, and generator service technician. The defendant Cummins, Inc. removed the matter to federal court after receiving a deposition transcript of plaintiff that arguably demonstrated that defendant and Louisiana resident, Taylor-Seidenbach, Inc. (TSI), was fraudulently joined to defeat diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiff moved to remand asserting a lack of diversity jurisdiction,…
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Novel Motion to Remand Denied in California Talc Case U.S.District Court for the Central District of California, August 23, 2018

CALIFORNIA — A group of women filed suit against Johnson & Johnson in the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles raising claims that the company violated various California codes by failing to warn consumers of exposure to asbestos and talc containing asbestiform fibers in Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. On May 31, 2018, Johnson & Johnson removed to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiffs moved to remand by arguing that the court lacked subject matter…
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Appeals Court Confirms Dismissal Based on Asbestos Supplier’s Lack of Contacts With Florida United States Courts of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, August 23, 2018

FLORIDA — The plaintiff James Waite was allegedly exposed to asbestos while living in Massachusetts. He filed suit against multiple defendants, including Union Carbide, alleging that his exposure to asbestos caused him to develop mesothelioma. Mr. Waite was diagnosed in Florida, and he and his wife filed suit in Florida state court. Union Carbide removed the case to federal district court where the court determined that it lacked personal jurisdiction over UC. The Waites appealed, arguing that the district court erred in dismissing UC for…
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District Court Remands Case Back to New Jersey State Court After Federal Defendant is Dismissed United States District Court, District of New Jersey, August 17, 2018

NEW JERSEY — On October 30, 2015, The plaintiffs Thomas Grimes and Estelle Grimes Estelle Grimes initially filed suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County against a number of defendants alleging that Mr. Grimes’s mesothelioma was caused by exposure to defendants’ asbestos or asbestos-containing products. Shortly thereafter, the case was removed to the United States District Court, District Court of New Jersey, following Defendant Crane’s Notice of Removal relating to the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. Section 1442(a)(1). Pursuant to…
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Case Remanded to State Court as Shipyard Defendant Fails to Show Causal United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana, August 1, 2018

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Terry Brady alleged that his lung cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos while working aboard U.S. Navy vessels from 1968-1989. During the plaintiff’s time aboard the USS Robert A. Owens, the ship docked at a shipyard operated by defendant Avondale Shipyards. The plaintiff filed this matter in state court, alleging that the defendants failed to warn of the hazards of asbestos, failed to provide a safe environment, and failed to employ safe procedures for handling asbestos. Avondale removed the case…
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Remand Affirmed on Appeal Due to Lack of Causal Connection to Support Removal Under Federal Officer Statute U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, July 26, 2018

The family of Tyrone Melancon filed suit in Louisiana state court alleging that his development of mesothelioma and subsequent death were caused by his exposure to asbestos at the Huntington Ingalls shipyard where he was employed from 1965 to 1979. The plaintiffs alleged that Huntington Ingalls negligently failed to warn Tyrone Melancon of the dangers of asbestos and failed to implement safety procedures for handling asbestos. Huntington Ingalls removed the case to federal court under the federal officer removal statute, alleging that removal was permissible…
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