U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, March 17, 2022
In this asbestos action, decedent Joseph B. Savoie, Jr. developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at the Avondale Shipyards. Certain defendants removed this matter to federal court in 2015. Following the plaintiff’s motion to remand, the Fifth Circuit held that removal was proper as the “Avondale Interests presented a colorable defense of federal contractor immunity” in 2017. The Avondale Interests were dismissed in 2021. Thereafter, the plaintiffs filed a motion to remand the matter to state court as the parties were not completely diverse. In addition, the removing parties were no longer active defendants.
Ultimately, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana did not remand this matter. While the parties were not completely diverse at the time of the plaintiffs’ instant motion to remand due to the addition of a Louisiana party, the parties were completely diverse at the time the action was filed. In addition, the court found that exercising supplemental jurisdiction in this matter would be appropriate. The court likened this matter to Vedros, where the court denied a motion to remand. The court noted that Vedros was similar to other matters that were “pending in federal court for several years, extensive discovery has occurred and numerous documents have been filed, discovery is closed, the case is ripe for trial, there are no novel or overly complex issues of state law, and the district court has already expended significant judicial resources and decided multiple dispositive motions.” Notably, the matter has been pending in federal court for several years, the docket included over 700 entries, and a trial date in November 2021 was adjourned due to the dismissal of the Avondale Interests on the eve of trial. Further, the matter “presents no novel or overly complex issues of state law, and this court has already expended significant judicial resources and is intimately familiar with the facts of this case.” Thus, the court denied the motion to remand.