Southern District of Florida Grants Motion to Dismiss in Mass Class Action
On April 5, 2022, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida has granted motion to dismiss in favor of defendant Huntsman Corporation in Andres v. Raytheon Techs. Corp & Others Civil Action,No. 21-61757-Civ-Scola (S.D. Fla. Apr. 5, 2022). The case was brought by the son of Plaintiff John R. Andres against 51 defendants. Mr. Andres died because of malignant mesothelioma. Plaintiff’s son asserted that over the course of working with defendants, Mr. Andres handled and contacted with number of products containing asbestos which were highly dangerous and contributed to Mr. Andres’s death.
On the contrary, Defendant Huntsman Corporation filed a motion to dismiss contending that they were not subject to personal jurisdiction in Florida. Defendant alleged that Plaintiff’s complaint has not made specific allegations concerning Huntsman’s business or conduct, instead the Plaintiff pled jurisdictional allegations common to all Defendants. For instance, the complaint comprises defendants, who were either Florida residents or had conducted business in Florida.
In addition to this, Joe Hamor, an assistant treasurer to Defendant Huntsman, filed a declaration in favor of defendant. He asserted that Huntsman Corporation is only a holding company incorporated in Delaware with a principal place of business in Texas. Plaintiff in its reply stated that Huntsman has proper jurisdiction in Florida. Defendants targeted sale of its product as well as possessed a physical facility in Pensacola, Florida. Huntsman also owned the trademark to two products that are sold in Florida. These products potentially contributed to Mr. Andres’ alleged asbestos exposure.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), a plaintiff seeking personal jurisdiction over a nonresident bears the initial burden of alleging sufficient facts in the complaint to establish a prima facie case of jurisdiction.
After hearing the arguments, the court found that plaintiffs failed to contend a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction over Huntsman and allowed Huntsman’s motion to dismiss. The court also said that the plaintiffs had failed to prove jurisdiction by affidavits, testimony, or documents while submitting reply to Huntsman’s rebut.
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