Louisiana Record

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Court stays man's lawsuit against shipyard over asbestos until related case concludes


By Charmaine Little | Nov 22, 2019

Asbestos 10

After claiming he was exposed to asbestos at work, and at home by his family members who worked for the same company, an Avondale Shipyward worker’s motion to remand the case was held in abeyance as the case was administratively closed on Oct. 25 until an earlier case that could affect the worker's motion is adjudicated.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled on Edward J. Boudreaux Jr.’s case against Albert L. Bossier, Jr., Huntington Ingalls Inc. and Lamorak Insurance Company (Avondale Interests).

Boudreaux said in his motion that Avondale Interests' notice to remove the case from state court to this court was untimely. But the judge disagreed.

“Because the Avondale Interests filed their notice of removal on Aug. 29, 2019, within 30 days of receiving plaintiff’s deposition transcript on July 30, 2019, the court concludes that removal was timely.”

Still, the motion was held in abeyance at the Avondale Interests’ request.

“Unlike other removal statutes, an order remanding a case removed under the federal officer removal statute is appealable, 28 U.S.C. section 1447 (d), and an appeal from an order of this court granting plaintiff’s motion to remand would more likely delay this case longer,” the judge ruled.

The case was administratively closed until the Fifth Circuit rules on a related case, Latiolas V. Huntington Ingalls, Inc., which could also determine the federal officer removal statute.

Boudreaux argued his case is urgent because he has asbestosis. Barbier said that was another reason staying the case was the best ruling.

Boudreaux was an Avondale Shipyard employee from 1963 to 1969. He claimed that along with getting exposed to asbestos on the job, he was also exposed at home from his dad and brother’s clothes as they were also around the substance as Avondale workers. While Boudreaux first sued Avondale Interests and several other companies in state court on Nov. 29, 2018, he sued Avondale Interests only for negligence. Avondale Interests removed the case to the current court on Aug. 29, 2019, and Boudreaux filed his motion to remand.

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U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana