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Plaintiff's Motion to Remand Denied as Complaint Did Not Put Defendants on Notice of Federal Claims U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, July 30, 2015

In this federal court case, the plaintiff alleged exposure to various products while working at various worksites as a machinist, pipefitter, and electrician during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Several defendants removed the case based on the federal officer removal statute 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1) alleging that the federal court had jurisdiction because there is a “government contractor defense” to the claims.  The plaintiff moved to remand arguing that the removal was untimely as the defendants were initially put on notice of the federal claims from his complaint.
 
The court denied the plaintiff’s motion, holding: “In this case, the initial pleading contained little information to enable Defendants to establish whether all the elements of federal jurisdiction are present. The Complaint merely states that Plaintiff worked as a machinist, pipe fitter and electrician at various sites throughout New Jersey, one being the New York Ship Building Company, and that he came into contact with Defendants’ asbestos-containing products at one of those worksites at some point during the three decades he worked at those sites. Plaintiff does not state which shipyards he worked at while working for the New York Ship Building Company, or whether he worked exclusively on the shipyard’s grounds or worked on the ships themselves. His Complaint fails to note whether any of his jobs were aboard U.S. Navy ships or with equipment made for the U.S. Navy. Nor does it state with any detail what work Plaintiff did at the New York Ship Building Company - it does not specify, for example, what asbestos-containing products or machinery Plaintiff interacted with, or how his duties exposed him to Defendants’ products.”

Read the full decision here.

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