Case Against Crane Remanded to State Court Based on Lack of Evidence of the Exercise of Government Discretion Under the Federal Officer Removal Statute

In this case, the plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure from various sources, including from his time aboard Naval vessels during the Korean War. Defendant Crane removed the case to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.1442(a)(1), the federal officer removal statute.  The plaintiff moved to remand the case, arguing that Crane did not meet the standard to remove under the statute.

In opposition to the remand, Crane submitted a 2011 affidavit from one of its officers stating that “the manufacture of equipment for use on Navy vessels was governed by an extensive set of federal standards and specifications, which would have governed all aspects of design, including materials and warnings.”  However, the officer did not explain the basis for those facts. Crane also submitted the affidavit of a retired Rear Admiral that was also drafted and executed three years prior to the commencement of the plaintiff’s case.  The court found the affidavit to be general and did not address the exercise of discretion specific to the case.  The court subsequently granted the remand, finding: “Crane’s evidence is insufficient to meet its burden regarding the exercise of government discretion. Crane’s evidence is generalized in nature and wholly speculative when applied to this specific case. Crane cannot reply upon the more generous interpretation given to removal under § 1442(a) to cure its glaring evidentiary deficiencies.”

Read the full decision here.