OAKLAND, Calif.—A judge in the Central California federal district court has granted a motion to remand an asbestos liability case to a state court over Goodyear's opposition.
Lorna Walek filed suit against Goodyear, the Boeing Co. and several other defendants alleging that her husband, John Finazzo, died of mesothelioma from the asbestos his father, Francesco Finazzo, unknowingly brought home on his person from his job as an aircraft mechanic for the Army National Guard at the Ontario, Calif., International Airport.
The suit was originally filed in Alameda County Superior Court in December 2014, but was moved to the Central California court at Boeing's request.
On Jan. 25. 2016, with most of the defendants having settled, Walek moved to have the case remanded to the Alameda County court. Goodyear, however, opposed this motion.
“This Court should deny Plaintiffs' motion to remand, because jurisdiction is proper in this Court,” Goodyear stated in its Feb. 18 motion.
Because Goodyear was a government contractor working to strict and mandatory government specifications, the company has an absolute defense against liability, the tire maker argued.
“There was no risk known to Goodyear that was not known to the government, which for decades was at the forefront of knowledge about asbestos, dust, and industrial hygiene practices,” Goodyear wrote. “'Federal officer' jurisdiction extends to government contractors under just such circumstances.”
In a March 9 ruling, however, Central California Judge David O. Carter rejected Goodyear's motion and remanded the case.
“Defendant Goodyear has failed to make a colorable showing as to the elements of the government contractor defense,” Carter ruled. Goodyear especially erred in not showing whether it provided the asbestos warnings the U.S. Air Force specifically required it to give, he said.