Asbestos Suit Returns To NJ State Court After Boeing’s Exit

A New Jersey federal judge has sent back to state court a lawsuit alleging that a now-deceased man contracted mesothelioma after purportedly being exposed to asbestos in products made by Johnson & Johnson and other manufacturers, finding that the matter should be remanded after Boeing was released from the case.

About seven months after tossing related claims against The Boeing Co. — which had removed the action to federal court under the so-called federal officer removal statute — U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp granted an unopposed remand motion from Julie Klick, who is pursuing the case after her husband, Paul Klick III, died in September.

With Boeing out of the picture, “the court exercises its discretion to remand the case back to state court.”

The couple launched their initial complaint in New Jersey Superior Court in October 2020 against J&J, Boeing and various other companies over claims that Paul Klick developed mesothelioma after being exposed to purported asbestos in their products for over roughly 50 years.

Klick was exposed to the toxic substance in 1966 while working for former asbestos giant Johns-Manville, and then between 1967 and 1971 while serving in the U.S. Air Force, the complaint said. During that latter period, his exposure came from supervising mechanics working with asbestos-containing products on Boeing aircraft.

Klick was further exposed to asbestos from using J&J’s talcum powder products between 1967 and 2015, as well as Gold Bond’s talcum powder between the 1970s and 1990s.

In November 2020, Boeing removed the matter to federal court on the basis of federal officer jurisdiction, arguing that the company built the aircraft at the direction of the federal government. It soon moved to dismiss the claims against it.

Judge Shipp granted Boeing’s dismissal bid in June after concluding that he lacked jurisdiction over the claims, in part because the company is neither incorporated nor has its principal place of business in New Jersey and since Klick’s alleged asbestos exposure from working with Boeing aircraft occurred in Maine, not New Jersey.

About a month later, the Klicks moved to remand the case, saying it no longer belonged in federal court since Boeing was not a defendant.


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