Justia U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Aerospace/Defense

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Papp alleged that his late wife suffered secondary “take home” asbestos exposure while washing the work clothes of her first husband, Keck. Keck had several jobs that exposed him to asbestos. Papp sued multiple companies in New Jersey. In a deposition, he indicated that the landing gear Keck sandblasted was for a C-47 military cargo plane, built by Boeing’s predecessor. Boeing removed the case, citing the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1). Boeing asserted that it was entitled to government contractor immunity because the C-47 was produced for, and under the specific supervision of, the U.S. military and that the supervision extended to labels and warnings for all parts of the aircraft, including those parts laden with the asbestos to which Keck would later be exposed. The district court remanded, reasoning that Boeing, as a contractor and not a federal officer, had a “special burden” to demonstrate “that a federal officer or agency directly prohibited Boeing from issuing, or otherwise providing, warnings as to the risks associated with exposure to asbestos contained in products on which third-parties … worked or otherwise provided services.” The Third Circuit reversed, holding that the statute extends to contractors who possess a colorable federal defense and that Boeing made a sufficient showing of such a defense. View "Papp v. Fore-Kast Sales Co Inc" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, employed by defense contractor Qinetiq to work on a military base in Iraq, were enrolled in Qinetiq’s Basic Long Term Disability, Basic Life, and Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance policies, governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001, under a single contract with Prudential. Qinetiq paid the premiums. Plaintiffs also purchased, with their own funds, supplemental coverage under the same terms as the basic policies; there was a single summary plan description. An employee would file a single claim for basic and supplemental coverage benefits. The plan booklets provided that loss is not covered if it results from war, or any act of war, declared or undeclared. These exclusions applied to both the basic and supplemental policies. The plaintiffs were not otherwise uninsured for excluded injuries. Qinetiq obtained insurance required by the Defense Base Act, 42 U.S.C. 1651. After Prudential denied claims, the plaintiffs sued, alleging violations of the state consumer fraud acts and the Truth in Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act; breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and intentional or negligent misrepresentation or omission. They contended that Prudential fraudulently induced them to buy supplemental coverage knowing that any claim they filed would likely be subject to the war exclusions, rendering supplemental coverage effectively worthless. The district court dismissed, treating the basic and supplemental policies as components of a single plan, and holding that all state law claims were preempted by ERISA. The Third Circuit affirmed, holding that the supplemental coverage cannot be “unbundled” from ERISA coverage. View "Menkes v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am." on Justia Law

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George, a 21-year old U.S. citizen, was scheduled to fly from Philadelphia to California to begin his senior year at Pomona College. George claims that at the Philadelphia International Airport, he was detained, interrogated, handcuffed, and then jailed, because he was carrying a deck of Arabic-English flashcards and a book critical of American interventionism. The flashcards included every day words and phrases such as “yesterday,” “fat,” “thin,” “really,” “nice,” “sad,” “cheap,” “summer,” “pink,” and “friendly,” but also contained such words as: “bomb,” “terrorist,” “explosion,” “attack,” “battle,” “kill,” “to target,” “to kidnap,” and “to wound.” George had a double major in Physics and Middle Eastern Studies and had traveled to Jordan to study Arabic as part of a study abroad program; he then spent five weeks traveling in Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. He was released after about five hours. In his suit against three employees of the Transportation Security Administration and two FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force members, the district court’s denied motions in which the defendants asserted that they were entitled to qualified immunity against claims that they violated George’s Fourth and First Amendment rights. The Third Circuit reversed and ordered the case dismissed. View "George v. Rehiel" on Justia Law