Hall v. Air & Liquid System Corporation et al
ORDER GRANTING 132 Motion to Apply Maritime Law filed by Defendants Crane Co. and Ingersoll-Rand Company. Signed by Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel on 11/8/16. (klh2)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ROBERT HALL AND MARY HALL,
AIR & LIQUID SYSTEMS CORP.,
INC., CBS CORP., CRANE CO.,
GENERAL ELECTRIC CO.,
GOULDS PUMPS, INC.,
IMO INDUSTRIES, INC.,
JOHN CRANE, INC.,
METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE
VIKING PUMPS, INC.,
WARREN PUMPS, LLC,
Case No. 3:15-CV-01344-NJR-SCW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ROSENSTENGEL, District Judge:
Plaintiffs Robert and Mary Hall allege that Mr. Hall was diagnosed with lung
cancer that was caused by exposure to asbestos from products manufactured by the
various Defendants (Doc. 1-1). The Halls originally filed their case in the Circuit Court
for the Third Judicial Circuit in Madison County, Illinois, on November 4, 2015, but it
was removed to this Court on December 9, 2015, pursuant to the federal officer removal
statute (Doc. 1; Doc. 148). This matter is currently before the Court on the Motion to
Apply Maritime Law filed by Defendants Crane Co. and Ingersoll Rand Company (Doc.
Page 1 of 3
132). Plaintiffs did not file a response to the motion.
The party seeking to invoke maritime law must satisfy the requirements of
location and connection with maritime activity. Scott v. Trump Indiana, Inc., 337 F.3d 939,
943 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Jerome B. Grubart, Inc. v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., 513 U.S.
527, 531 (1995)). The location prong of the test requires that the injury occurred on
navigable waters or, if the injury occurred on land, it must have been caused by a vessel
on navigable waters. Scott, 337 F.3d at 943. The connection with maritime activity prong,
also known as the nexus test, requires that the incident involved has a potentially
disruptive impact on maritime commerce and that the activity giving rise to the incident
bears a substantial relationship to traditional maritime activity. Scott, 337 F.3d at 943.
With respect to the application of this two-prong test to asbestos claims, the Court is
content to follow the succinct framework set forth in Conner v. Alfa Laval, Inc., 799 F.
Supp. 2d 455, 459 (E.D. Pa. 2011) 1:
[M]aritime law govern[s] those claims involving plaintiffs who were
sea-based Navy workers so long as the allegedly defective product was
produced for use on a vessel. Where the asbestos claims asserted stem
from predominantly land-based Navy work, however, maritime law does
not govern even if the allegedly defective product was produced for use on
Here, Plaintiff Robert Hall alleges that he was exposed to asbestos-containing
The Conner case was part of MDL 875, which was established in 1991 to consolidate the avalanche of
federal asbestos cases in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Hon. Eduardo C. Robreno, The Federal
Asbestos Product Liability Multidistrict Litigation (Mdl-875): Black Hole or New Paradigm?, 23 WIDENER L.J. 97
(2013). In 2008, Judge Eduardo Robreno was designated to preside over MDL 875. Id. He has decided
thousands of motions and issued hundreds of orders, including the extensive and thorough order in
Conner deciding the application of maritime law. Id. After twenty years, 180 thousand plus cases, and over
ten million claims, the MDL stopped accepting transfers, signaling the impending end to the MDL
proceedings. Id. In ceasing the transfer of cases to the MDL, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
stated that “the judges presiding over [the cases that will not be transferred to the MDL] will almost
certainly find useful guidance in the many substantive and thoughtful rulings that have been issued
during the lengthy course of the Multi district proceedings.” In re Asbestos Prods. Liability Litig., 830
F.Supp.2d 1377, 1379 (J.P.M.L. 2011).
Page 2 of 3
products while serving in the United States Navy from 1968 until 1971 (Doc. 1-1).
According to Defendants, Mr. Hall testified at his deposition that he served in the Navy
aboard the USS America for about two and a half years, cruising to Asia, South America,
and Australia (Doc. 132). 2 Mr. Hall indicated that during his time aboard the USS
America he repaired equipment on the ship, such as pumps and valves (Doc. 132). Mr.
Hall further testified that the only place he recalled working on or around Ingersoll Rand
pumps and Crane Co. valves was aboard the USS America (Doc. 132).
Thus the evidence establishes that Mr. Hall performed at least a portion of his
Navy service at sea aboard a Navy vessel. The evidence further establishes that his job
asbestos-containing pumps and valves manufactured by Ingersoll Rand and Crane Co.
that were essential for the proper functioning of the ship and were made for that
purpose. Accordingly, maritime law applies to his claims against those two Defendants.
See Conner v. Alfa Laval, Inc., 799 F. Supp. 2d 455, 466–69 (E.D. Pa. 2011).
The Motion to Apply Maritime Law filed by Defendants Crane Co. and Ingersoll
Rand Company (Doc. 132) is GRANTED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: November 8, 2016
NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL
United States District Judge
The relevant portions of Mr. Hall’s deposition transcript were supposed to be attached to the motion as
Exhibit A, but they were omitted (see Doc. 132). The Court is relying solely on Crane Co.’s and Ingersoll
Rand’s representations about Mr. Hall’s testimony, which at this point it has no reason to doubt.
Page 3 of 3
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?