Courtroom, Gavel And Law Books

Various Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss Granted for Failure to Identify Specific Product

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division

As previously reported by the Asbestos Case Tracker, decedent Gustave Sahm died from lung cancer allegedly caused by asbestos exposure from 1956 to 2020 while serving in the Navy and working at various jobs throughout his career. His heirs filed suit in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis in January 2023, alleging claims of wrongful death including the following four counts against all defendants: strict liability, negligence, willful and wanton misconduct and aggravated circumstances, and loss of consortium. Defendant Raytheon Technologies Corporation timely removed the case based on federal officer jurisdiction grounds. Defendants Avco Corporation, Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., and Textron Aviation, Inc. (collectively, the Defendants) filed motions to dismiss the case.

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to F.R.C.P. Rule 12(b)(6) will be granted when a complaint does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). That is, a complaint “must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory. Id. at 562.

The defendants argue that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim on each count by failing to “allege which [of Defendants’] product[s] Mr. Sahm was allegedly exposed to” and failing to allege “when, where, or how [Mr. Sahm] was allegedly exposed[.]” In agreeing with the defendants, the court noted that products liability claims “require[] an allegation identifying which of Defendants’ products are at issue.” The plaintiffs did not identify any specific products manufactured, sold, or distributed by the defendants and merely provided a “formulaic recitation of the elements of each claim[.]” As such, the court granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Read the full decision here.