Massachusetts Corporation Granted Dismissal for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

Plaintiffs Sean Snowdale and Ryan Snowdale as Co-Executors of the Estate of Donald Kenneth Snowdale initially filed this asbestos-related suit against a number of defendants, including Barnes & Jones, Incorporated on July 6, 2015 in the Supreme Court of New York, New York County (NYCAL). Barnes & Jones answered and asserted the affirmative defense that NYCAL lacked personal jurisdiction over Barnes & Jones as to each and every count in the complaint.

On July 20, 2017, Barnes & Jones moved to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction and relied upon New York law in Trumbull, Goodyear and Daimler, as well as other New York case law.

In this matter, the following facts were outlined within the motion papers: (1) Barnes & Jones was a Massachusetts corporation, duly organized under the laws of the State of Massachusetts and (2) Barnes & Jones maintained its principal place of business in Randolph, Massachusetts. As to the locations of exposure for the decedent, Kenneth Snowdale, the plaintiffs’ interrogatory responses provided that the Snowdale incurred occupational exposure to asbestos in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire and Maine. More importantly, during his discovery deposition, Snowdale testified to alleged asbestos exposure at various locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Kansas and other locations during his service in the United States Navy. Snowdale did identify asbestos exposure to Barnes & Jones steam traps, however, that alleged exposure was limited to New Hampshire between 1969 and 1994. Snowdale did not allege asbestos exposure to any Barnes & Jones product within New York State. Further, the plaintiffs did not produce any other evidence in discovery revealing any connection between Snowdale’s alleged asbestos exposure from a Barnes & Jones product and New York state.

On September 7, 2017, Justice Lucy Billups found the plaintiffs’ arguments in opposition unpersuasive and ultimately granted the motion to dismiss as to Barnes & Jones based on lack of personal jurisdiction.

Read the full decision here.