Gates v. A. O. Smith Water Products Co.


, New York Law Journal


Judge David Hurd

Gates' estate (Plaintiff) continued prosecution of his lawsuit—initially brought in state court in 2004—asserting exposure to asbestos during, among other times, Gates' service in the U.S. Navy from 1953 to 1955 while at the U.S. Naval Training Center in Maryland and aboard the USS Markab and USS Hazelwood. Invoking 28 USC §1442(a)(1)—the federal officer removal statute—defendant Crane Co. had removed suit to federal district court on Nov. 18, 2013. Finding that Crane submitted sufficient evidence supporting its assertion that it can satisfy all three elements of Boyle v. United Tech. Corp., and thus raised a colorable federal defense that it acted under Navy direction as a government contractor, district court denied Plaintiff's remand motion. Crane's discovery responses sufficiently alleged exposure to its products—manufactured and supplied to the Navy pursuant to extensive federal standards and specifications, to fulfill the Navy's ship-building needs under various contracts—during Gates' naval service to support removal. Crane further provided colorable evidence that the Navy knew of the potential health risks associated with asbestos, and that its knowledge was equal or superior to that of its suppliers, including Crane.

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