Defendant Fails to Establish Two Elements Necessary for Interlocutory Appeal

The plaintiff sued approximately 78 defendants alleging his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos while working as a civilian for the U.S. Navy from 1958-1964, and two other employers from 1966-1969, and again from 1969-1997.

CBS moved to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction arguing that its contacts with Missouri did not satisfy the due process right laid down by the Daimler decision. The court denied the motion. CBS then sought certification of an interlocutory appeal of whether “CBS has consented to the general jurisdiction of Missouri courts by complying with Missouri’s corporate registration statute.”

The court’s analysis began with a discussion on Section 1292 (b) of Title 28 of the United States Code, which gave the framework for the District Court to grant an appeal on what is a “non-final order.” According to the court, the case must involve an issue that concerns 1) a controlling question of law 2) a substantial ground for difference of opinion upon which 3) a decision will materially advance the ultimate outcome. The court also noted that ripeness is a consideration as the procedure is not designed to invite advisory opinions. Further, the “jurisdictional analysis is guided by policy embodied in the final judgment rule.”

The court found that CBS satisfied the first requirement of the existence of a controlling question of law. Here, the inquiry dealt with an issue of exercise of personal jurisdiction over CBS. The court noted that other courts have also found questions of jurisdiction to be a question of law. However, the court concluded that CBS had not shown a substantial ground for difference of opinion as required by Section 1292. CBS had argued that “numerous cases have reached the opposite conclusion.” The court disagreed and stated that the cases CBS argued were from an outside Circuit. Further, the court found that CBS had not demonstrated that the appeal may materially advance the outcome of the litigation. While CBS argued that granting the appeal would serve the interests of justice and judicial economy, the court disagreed and stated that it would only invite multiple appeals.

Therefore, the court denied the Interlocutory Appeal.

Read the full decision here.

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