Court Allows Parties to Conduct Jurisdictional Discovery Following Product Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, July 15, 2021

Plaintiff Paul Klick III was diagnosed with mesothelioma which he attributes to his exposure to asbestos while serving in the Air Force. The plaintiff contends he was exposed to asbestos through his work involving Abex products while he was stationed in Maine.

Following the plaintiff’s filing of this lawsuit in New Jersey, the matter was removed to federal court on the basis of federal officer jurisdiction. Defendant Abex filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. In its motion, the defendant argues it is not subject to specific jurisdiction because the plaintiff’s complaint does not allege that the plaintiff ever came into contact with any Abex products while he was in New Jersey, nor is there any indication that the plaintiff’s claims against Abex arise out of or relate to Abex’s business activities within the state.

In response, the plaintiff argued that Abex owned and operated a research and development facility in New Jersey during the relevant time and that this presence established specific jurisdiction.It’s important to note that the plaintiff did not offer specific evidence regarding the work conducted at the defendant’s facility in New Jersey and the plaintiff’s asbestos exposure.

The defendant neither conceded nor opposed the plaintiff’s arguments as to specific jurisdiction and only reiterated its arguments regarding general jurisdiction. Based on this, the court declined to make a finding regarding personal jurisdiction on the record and granted the plaintiff’s request for jurisdictional discovery. The court noted that the plaintiff’s arguments in the brief tended to show that the court may have specific jurisdiction, but the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient competent evidence at this stage. As such, the court allowed the parties to conduct narrow, limited jurisdictional discovery regarding Abex’s New Jersey facility.

Read the full decision here.