Judge approves remittance of mesothelioma case to state court

Published on May 09, 2023

After the mesothelioma death of Louisiana native Alvin Fiffie, his daughter Monique Mohammed joined as a plaintiff in his lawsuit against several asbestos companies, adding her own survival and wrongful death claims. She completed her lawsuit against Avondale Shipyards, which had previously referred the case to federal court due to its status as a government contractor. With this issue resolved, Ms. Mohammed applied for the case to be referred back to a state court, but one of the remaining defendants appealed. This week District Judge Sarah S. Vance remanded the case to state jurisdiction.

Asbestos Company argues that the mesothelioma lawsuit should remain in federal court

Mr. Fiffie originally filed his mesothelioma lawsuit in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans. He named several companies as defendants, including Avondale Shipyards. Avondale is frequently accused of exposing workers to asbestos and, as is often the case, the company has dismissed the lawsuit in federal court on the grounds that it was a contractor for the federal government. When Mr Fiffie died, his daughter Monique Mohammed agreed to settle the claim against the shipyard, barring all government contractors from the claim. Defendant IMTT-Geismar appealed when she requested that the case be remanded to state court.

In considering IMTT-Geismar’s objection to the remittance of the mesothelioma lawsuit to state court, Judge Vance determined that the remittance of the case to federal court did not eliminate the district court’s original jurisdiction over non-state claims. She said the district court has broad discretion to remit such cases and that the decision requires an analysis of the statutory and common law factors relevant to jurisdiction. She then gave examples of these factors, including whether the case raised novel or complex issues of state law or whether the district court had already dismissed any of the claims, as well as more reasonable factors such as expediency and court economy.

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The judge rules that remand in state court for the mesothelioma lawsuit is appropriate

In reviewing these factors, Judge Vance concluded that the factors support the remittance of the mesothelioma lawsuit to state court. She noted that all legal factors were satisfied, since only matters of state law remained to be decided, and that the common law factors were neutral. She noted that both the state and federal courthouses are located in Orleans Parish and that the Company has “identified no reasons that litigating in state court in Orleans Parish would be less convenient than litigating in federal court.” .

In conclusion, the judge noted that “in the interests of fairness, IMTT-Geismar does not present any reasons why a state court would be unlikely to fairly resolve the claims pending against it” and that the only basis for the appeal has to do with a different asbestos . Disclosure case years earlier that bore no resemblance to the fact in this case. As a result, Mr. Fiffie’s case is remanded to state court.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is important that you get experienced and knowledgeable advice. To learn how Mesothelioma.net Patient Advocates can help, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

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Written by Terri Oppenheimer Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the main author of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She completed her studies in English at the College of William and Mary. Terri believes knowledge is power, and she is committed to sharing news about the effects of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and the stories of victims.

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