James L. Ware and Defense Group Win Challenge to Jurisdiction Ruling in Asbestos MDL


The Texas Asbestos MDL court sided with firm clients which are out of state insurance companies who relied on recent United State Supreme Court opinions that none are residents of Texas for general jurisdiction and none “did business” for purposes of specific jurisdiction.  Plaintiffs in asbestos personal injury claims filed over twenty-five years ago in state courts in Jefferson and Orange County, Texas claimed that insurance companies which allegedly insured an Alabama company owed claimants for asbestos claims.  All facts of the claims arose in Alabama, all Plaintiffs are residents of Alabama, and all alleged exposures to asbestos occurred in Alabama.  Nonetheless, Plaintiff added the Defendants to the suits claiming that all “did business in Texas”.  Jurisdictional discovery was ordered by the trial court and no evidence was developed that a Defendant challenging jurisdiction was incorporated in Texas nor maintained its principal place of business in Texas.  Plaintiffs unsuccessfully argued that selling insurance policies to policy holders in Texas, collecting premium dollars from Texas insureds, and operating offices and agents was sufficient evidence to maintain jurisdiction.  The MDL court relying heavily upon Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County, 582 U.S.___ (2017) found that Defendants met their burden required in a hearing on Special Appearances and that Plaintiffs did not rebut same.  The Special Appearances were granted and the case dismissed.