Previously, we began looking at a recent asbestos case appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of appeals on the issue of whether a company was entitled to remove the suit to federal court. As we pointed out, the company in the suit intended to take advantage of a federal statute granting immunity to government contractors under certain circumstances, and the court ultimately ruled in favor of the company.
Part of the reason for the decision, in addition to what we discussed last time, was that federal contractors only need to have been acting generally under the authority of the federal government, according to the Fifth Circuit, and do not need to have been acting according to “precise federal direction” regarding the specifications of the product. The interpretation involves a broader reading of the statute than was argued by the plaintiff in the case.
The question of whether to file in federal or state court is an important one in asbestos litigation, and determining whether to file in state or federal court involves various considerations about the impact on a plaintiff’s case. Plaintiffs need to especially consider the availability of certain types of damages and the desirability of having a local jury hear the case. Procedural differences between state and federal court can also come into play, and these need to be considered as well.
It is important, of course, for anybody who has been harmed by asbestos exposure to work with an experienced attorney who understands not only the law governing liability and damages, but also the procedural technicalities of how to navigate the court system. An experienced attorney will know how to best address these issues in the context of the plaintiff’s claims.