Outcome of Instant Matter Would Not Impact Non-Party Talc Supplier’s Pending Bankruptcy Estate, Remand Ordered

PENNSYLVANIA – The defendant Johnson & Johnson (J&J), in a topic that has been extensively covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker, indicated in its notice of removal that this case is one of many in the United States which involve claims concerning personal injuries and deaths allegedly caused by J&J’s cosmetic talc. J&J’s motion further indicates that the “sole supplier” of the talc which the defendant used in its product, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11.

The plaintiffs’ complaint is similar to those filed by …

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Asbestos Talc Cases Remanded to State Courts Despite Pending Bankruptcy of Talc Supplier

CALIFORNIA — On Tuesday, a federal court in California ordered that a group of asbestos talc personal injury cases must be remanded to state court on equitable grounds. Defendant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) had removed these actions to federal court in April on the basis of the pending bankruptcy of its sole talc supplier, Imerys Talc America, Inc., claiming that J&J’s supply agreements with Imerys contained contractual indemnifications and other liability-sharing provisions, and that they were “related” to Imerys’s bankruptcy proceedings in federal court in …

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Turbine Manufacturer’s Removal Deemed Timely Due to Plaintiffs’ Vague Initial Pleadings and Answers to Interrogatories

MARYLAND — The plaintiffs filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on April 4, 2018, against Westinghouse and thirty other the defendants. In the original complaint, the plaintiffs provided no time frame during which the plaintiff’s decedent, Vincent James Barrett, may have been exposed to asbestos, nor did it provide any specifics as to which he was exposed to or identify ships on which he may have worked.

On December 18, 2018, Westinghouse removed the case to the District Court of Maryland “within …

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Fifth Circuit Affirms Remand of Shipyard Case

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff James Latiolas, filed suit in Louisiana State Court alleging asbestos exposure while working at the Avondale shipyard. The plaintiff only asserted a negligence claim against Avondale and Avondale removed the case on the basis of the federal officer defense. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand, which was granted. On appeal, the fifth circuit affirmed.

The evidence previously gathered in other cases demonstrated that Avondale built and refurbished naval vessels based on the Navy’s specifications and under the their supervision. However, …

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Motion to Remand Denied Due to Evidence Presented by Defendants

CALIFORNIA — On November 7, 2018, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint in state court alleging that decedent, Ronald Viale, was exposed to asbestos when he was employed by the U.S. Navy as a steamfitter/firefighter from 1968 to 1970, and that he developed mesothelioma as a result of said exposure. On January 3, 2019, Foster Wheeler removed the matter under the federal officer defense. The removing defendants produced declarations provided by witnesses demonstrating that the Navy issued specifications regarding the form and content of all …

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Defendant Pump and Compressor Manufacturer’s Removal Deemed Untimely

CALIFORNIA — The plaintiffs Michael Roy Harris and Elsie Harris sued multiple parties, including Ingersoll-Rand Company (IR), alleging that Michael developed mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure resulting from his work at two U.S. Navy shipyards and while serving in the Navy. The plaintiffs initially filed suit in the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, on May 25, 2018. Over six months later, on December 17, 2018, IR removed the case to the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs filed the instant motion to remand.…

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In Talc case, Motion to Dismiss Denied Based on Business Registration; Case Not Remanded to State Court

PENNSYLVANIA -The plaintiffs filed suit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against Imerys and Johnson & Johnson, alleging that the plaintiff Carrie Youse’s use of cosmetic talcum powder caused her to develop mesothelioma. Imerys filed a notice of removal, including within the notice J&J’s consent. Soon thereafter, Imerys filed a Motion to Dismiss for lack of jurisdiction which was rendered moot by the plaintiffs filing an amended complaint. In the amended complaint, the plaintiffs added a claim against Walmart. The plaintiffs subsequently moved to …

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Motion to Remand Turbine Manufacturer’s Removal Denied Due to Statements in Settlement Demand Letter

RHODE ISLAND — The plaintiff filed suit on behalf of her husband, Michael Mannix, alleging that his death was caused by exposure to asbestos. She sued CBS, among other defendants, related to his work on ships in the Navy. After years of discovery, the plaintiff’s counsel sent CBS a settlement demand letter in which it was stated that decedent was exposed to asbestos from CBS turbines on the USS Saratoga. CBS promptly removed the case on October 9, 2018, alleging that the statement provided a …

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Louisiana Case Remanded Due to Lack of Causal Nexus Between Defendants’ Actions Under Color of Federal Office and Plaintiff’s Negligence Claims

LOUISIANA — The plaintiff Callen Dempster filed suit against multiple defendants, alleging that he was exposed to asbestos and asbestos-containing products while employed by Avondale Industries, Inc. (Avondale) from 1962-1994.  The plaintiff originally filed suit in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, on March 14, 2018.  On June 21, 2018, the defendants Huntington Ingalls Incorporated, Albert Bossier, Jr., J. Melton Garret, and Lamorak Insurance Company (the Avondale Interests) removed the case to the eastern district under the Federal Officer …

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Ninth Circuit Reverses District Court’s Decision to Remand

CALIFORNIA — Westinghouse appealed the decision of the District Court for the Central District of California, which remanded the matter due to the lack of a colorable federal defense.The district court concluded that the asbestos insulation in a nuclear propulsion system was not military equipment and therefore Westinghouse failed to present a colorable military contractor defense. The district court found that Westinghouse had met the other elements required for federal officer removal. The Ninth Circuit noted that several of its cases framed the issue more …

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