Diversity Jurisdiction Not Established Where Volkswagen Failed to Prove Fraudulent Joinder of Missouri Defendant U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, May 26, 2016

Nebraska plaintiffs filed an action in Missouri state court after the decedent died of mesothelioma.  After five defendants remained, defendant Volkswagen filed for removal based upon diversity jurisdiction, and alleged that the defendant, J.P. Bushnell Packing Supply Company, a Missouri corporation, was fraudulently joined.  This matter was before the court sua sponte to determine whether jurisdiction existed.  Finding no jurisdiction, the court remanded. Any doubts about the propriety of removal are resolved in favor of remand.  In diversity jurisdiction, complete diversity exists where no defendant…
Continue reading...

Cause Remanded to State Court After Federal Officer Defendants Dismissed U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, May 19, 2016

The plaintiff filed an asbestos suit in Missouri; defendant Crane Co. removed to federal court based on federal officer jurisdiction, in which Warren Pumps and CBS Corporation joined.  All three defendants were dismissed and the plaintiff moved to remand, which the court granted.  “…[I]f the federal party is eliminated from the suit after removal…the district court does not lose its…jurisdiction over the state law claims against the remaining non-federal parties…Instead, the district court retains the power either to adjudicate the underlying state law claims or…
Continue reading...

Fourth Circuit Upholds Summary Judgment on Substantial Factor Causation and Affirms Denial of Remand Based on Federal Officer Jurisdiction U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, May 6, 2016

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion in two consolidated appeals upholding the granting of summary judgment to defendants CBS Corporation, General Electric Corporation (GE), MCIC (local insulation contractor), Paramount Packing & Rubber Company, Phelps Packing & Rubber Company, SB Decking, Inc., Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement Trust (local insulation contractor), and Foster-Wheeler Energy Corporation. The two consolidated cases involved alleged exposures to dust asbestos-containing products manufactured, supplied, or installed by the defendants at Baltimore, Maryland area shipyards. On appeal,…
Continue reading...

Case Remanded Where GE Failed to Satisfy Requirements of Federal Officer Removal Due to Plaintiff’s Specific Disclaimer of No Naval Asbestos Exposure U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, Charleston Division, April 29, 2016

In this case, the plaintiff claimed that he was exposed to asbestos and contracted mesothelioma from products allegedly manufactured, supplied, installed, and/or distributed by numerous defendants. The plaintiff asserted in the complaint that he served in the U.S. Navy from 1962–66 but provided the disclaimer that the “[p]laintiff was not exposed to asbestos and is not bringing any claim for exposure to asbestos-containing products during Plaintiff’s service in the Navy.” One of the defendants, General Electric Company (GE), removed the case to the U.S. District…
Continue reading...

Defendant’s Failure to Warn Boilermaker Employees in the Shipyard Itself Prohibited Federal Contractor Defense U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, April 20, 2016

The decedent in this case died of mesothelioma and his representatives filed an action in state court. Defendant Foster Wheeler removed this case to federal court under the officer removal statute. The plaintiff moved to remand, which the court granted. The plaintiffs alleged exposure during the decedent’s work at Bethlehem Steel Sparrows Point Shipyard, while working as a boiler maker from 1948-1970s. Foster Wheeler removed on the basis that it was acting under an officer or agency of the United States, because it made boilers…
Continue reading...

Federal Court of Appeals Vacates U.S. District Court Judgment Dismissing Two Defendants for Improper Joinder and Orders Remand of Mesothelioma Case U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, April 19, 2016

The plaintiff filed an action against multiple defendants for his alleged mesothelioma as a result of his occupational exposure to asbestos. The case was removed to federal court. Discovery took place over the course of eleven months. The plaintiff passed away and The defendant’s motion to dismiss was granted as the estate and family did not substitute plaintiffs. The family then filed a survival and wrongful death action in state court but added a new allegation that the plaintiff had been exposed to asbestos insulation…
Continue reading...

U.S. District Court Exercises Supplemental Jurisdiction and Denies Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, March 31, 2016

In this case, the plaintiff, Frank Williams, brought an action in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans for exposure to asbestos while working as a mechanical engineer for Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin removed the case to on the basis of a potential federal defense. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand, but the court declined to decide the motion and transferred the case to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for consolidation into the Multi District Litigation “MDL.” Judge Robreno denied the motion…
Continue reading...

U.S. District Court for Northern California Grants Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Case Based on Untimely Diversity Jurisdiction Removal U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, March 28, 2016

The plaintiff brought an action for alleged development of mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure on April 15, 2014. After the plaintiff passed on July 7, 2015, his wife filed a second amended complaint, adding a wrongful death and survival claim on October 28, 2015. The defendant removed the case based on diversity jurisdiction and the plaintiff’s moved to remand as untimely. Although the removal statute requires removal within 30 days from date of service of the complaint, the defendant relied upon two arguments…
Continue reading...

Federal Court of Appeals Remands Case for Determination of Colorable Federal Defenses Alleged by Shipyard U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

In this case, the plaintiffs’ decedent claimed exposure to asbestos containing thermal insulation while working at the Avondale Shipyard in Louisiana as laborer and painter from 1948-1996. The shipyard at issued worked on contracts for the federal government. The defendants removed the case under federal officer removal and took the position that removal was proper since the government, through Navy inspectors, was involved in the building of the ships and had control of safety issues during construction. The plaintiffs, on the other hand, argued that…
Continue reading...

Vague and Conclusory Evidence in Support of Federal Officer Removal Rights Insufficient, Case Remanded to California State Court U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, March 9, 2016

The plaintiff in this case, the decedent’s wife, alleged secondary exposure to her husband through asbestos brought home by the decedent’s father while working as an aircraft mechanic on the base of the Army National Guard. Defendant The Boeing Company removed on federal officer grounds, and the plaintiff filed a motion to remand when four defendants remained — Pep Boys, Continental Motors, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, and IMO Industries. Goodyear was the only defendant which opposed the motion to remand. The court granted the plaintiff’s…
Continue reading...