TOXIC TORTS – REPRESENTATIVE CASES

Gordon and Silber Obtains Rare Forum Non Conveniens Dismissal in New Jersey Asbestos Case

Lawrence S. Wasserman and Russell L. Porter recently obtained a dismissal of a cosmetic-talc related asbestos case in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County. We are unaware of any other similar motions which have obtained a similar dismissal in the venue.

The case, Bell v. American International Industries, et. al., Docket Number: MID-L-6527-15AS, involved claims made by a lifelong resident of North Carolina that she was caused to develop mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos contained in our client’s cosmetic talc product. The plaintiff claimed she used this product during her longtime employment as a hairdresser in North Carolina.

During the plaintiff’s deposition, we were able to ascertain the plaintiff had a long history of employment in several North Carolina textile factories which were known sources of asbestos-exposure and related litigation. Further investigation revealed that the plaintiff had filed a workers’ compensation claim asserting that her mesothelioma was the result of her work at these factories. We discovered that this claim had been voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff so she could pursue her claims against our client in a New Jersey court.

We immediately moved for dismissal based upon inter alia the doctrine of forum non conveniens asserting that the case was more properly venued in North Carolina and that the plaintiff was engaging in forum shopping. After three separate oral arguments, the Court agreed finding that the plaintiff’s self-alleged exposure to asbestos at various work places in North Carolina, coupled with the cases’ tenuous connections to New Jersey, warranted dismissal. As noted above, we are unaware of any other asbestos-related litigation in New Jersey were a similar result has been obtained.

Anyone who wishes to discuss the above-referenced decision or Gordon & Silber’s aggressive and novel approaches to defense of asbestos-related claims can contact Lawrence S. Wasserman or Russell L. Porter at (212) 834-0600.

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