LOUISIANA – The plaintiff, Charles Merlin Parfait, Sr., alleged that he contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos during his work at the Avondale Shipyards from 1968 to 1978, and sued various defendants in state court in Orleans Parish Louisiana. The plaintiff alleged strict liability claims in his state court petition, but specifically disclaimed strict liability claims against Avondale Shipyards’ successor, Huntington Ingalls Incorporated. Less than 30 days after the plaintiff’s deposition, Huntington Ingalls removed the case to federal court and claimed that the plaintiff’s deposition testimony first gave it notice that his occupational exposure to asbestos occurred at Avondale during a specific time when the Navy required the use of asbestos on its destroyer escorts (before mid-1974). The plaintiff moved to remand, contending that removal was untimely and that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.
The court granted the plaintiff’s motion to remand. The plaintiff had explicitly stated in his state court petition that he was exposed to asbestos dust aboard destroyer escorts at Avondale between 1968 and 1978. The court was not swayed by Huntington Ingalls’ argument that it was not until the plaintiff’s deposition that Huntington Ingalls could discern the very specific time period of exposure. The 30-day removal clock starts when any original pleading “set(s) forth” or “affirmative reveal(s) on its face” facts supporting removal, making Huntington Ingalls notice of removal untimely.
Read the case decision here.