United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ADAM M. BREAKELL, Plaintiff,
3M COMPANY, et. al., Defendant.
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO REMAND
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Breakell has brought claims for products liability, fraud,
and premises liability in Connecticut Superior Court for
monetary and punitive damages, costs, and attorney's fees
from injuries allegedly suffered through exposure to certain
asbestos products. Third Amended Complaint, ECF No. 1-1
& Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.
(collectively “Johnson & Johnson”),
defendants in Mr. Breakell's case, removed the case from
Connecticut Superior Court after another defendant, Imerys
Talc America, Inc. and two affiliates (collectively
“Imerys”), filed a voluntary Chapter 11
Bankruptcy petition in the United States District Court for
the District of Delaware. Johnson & Johnson also filed a
motion to fix venue in that court for any asbestos-related
personal injury claims. Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1
(“Notice of Removal”), at ¶¶ 1, 7.
Johnson & Johnson alleges that Mr. Breakell's claims
are related to the pending bankruptcy action. Id. at
¶¶ 18, 28.
Breakell has filed a motion for an emergency remand in order
to have the case returned to Connecticut Superior Court.
Emergency Motion to Remand, ECF No. 11 (“Mot. to
following reasons, Mr. Breakell's motion to remand is
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
September 26, 2017, Adam Breakell sued numerous defendants
for products liability, fraud, and premises liability for
allegedly exposing him to asbestos, while he lived in
Connecticut during periods from May 17, 1975 until 1997,
approximately 2003 until approximately 2005, and
approximately 2016 until November 2017. Complaint, ECF No.
11-5; Underlying Compl. at ¶ 1. Discovery has been
ongoing, and the case is set for trial on September 17, 2019
in Connecticut Superior Court. Mot. to Remand at 1.
February 13, 2019, Imerys began Chapter 11 bankruptcy
proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Delaware. Id. at 2.
April 18, 2019, Johnson & Johnson removed this case under
28 U.S.C. § 1334(b) and 28 U.S.C.§ 1452(b),
alleging that Mr. Breakell's action is related to the
Imerys bankruptcy because of contractual indemnity
obligations between Johnson & Johnson and Imerys, shared
insurance policies between the companies, and the fact that
each Johnson & Johnson contained talc produced by Imerys.
Notice of Removal at ¶¶ 7, 8, 20.
same day, Johnson & Johnson “filed a Motion to Fix
Venue with the United States District Court for the District
of Delaware, petitioning the court to transfer all
talc-related state and federal actions to Delaware for
resolution.” In re Johnson & Johnson, Nos.
19-cv-3531(KPF), 2019 WL 2497856, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. June 4,
2019) (citing Motion to Fix Venue for Claims, In re:
Imerys Talc America, Inc. et al., No. 19-mc-00103 (D.
Del. Apr. 18, 2019), Dkt No. 1)).
April 30, 2019, Johnson & Johnson “filed an
Emergency Motion for Provisional Transfer Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 157(b)(5), asking the court in the District of
Delaware to enter an order provisionally transferring to it
all identified personal injury and wrongful death talc claims
against [Johnson & Johnson], prior to ruling on [Johnson
& Johnson]'s April 18 motion.” Id.
2, 2019, Mr. Breakell moved to remand the case back to state
court. Mot. to Remand.
8, 2019, Johnson & Johnson filed a memorandum in
opposition to Mr. Breakell's motion to remand. Memorandum
in Opposition re Motion to Remand to State Court, ECF No. 19
(“Mem. in Opp. to Remand”).
9, 2019, the court in the District of Delaware denied Johnson
& Johnson's Emergency Motion for Provisional
Transfer. In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc. et al.,
No. 19-mc-00103 (D. Del. May 9, 2019), Dkt No. 34. The court
found that “that J&J has not shown that it would be
irreparably harmed, ” id. at 6, noting that J
& J “was not a Debtor and has not established
financial distress.” Id.
the court also noted that, “as J & J concedes,
” id., the cases could be transferred
“under § 157(b) regardless of the decisions
reached by state courts on transfer and remand issues, and
therefore the Court is not persuaded that these proceedings
should be characterized as causing an emergency.”
Id. Indeed, in that court's view, J & J
“created the purported emergency that it claims
requires ex parte relief.” Id.
22, 2019, Mr. Breakell filed a reply to Johnson &
Johnson's opposition. Reply to Response to Motion to
Remand to State Court, ECF No. 21 (“Reply”).
11, 2019, the Court held a hearing regarding the pending
motion to remand.