Gordon & Rees Multi-State Team Obtains Dismissals in Florida and California on Behalf of Japanese Brake Manufacturer Client

August 2023

Partner Ari C. Shapiro, Partner James G. Scadden, and Associate James H. Mokhtarzadeh were recently successful in obtaining dismissals for the firm's client, a Japanese brake manufacturer, based on a lack of personal jurisdiction in both Florida and California.  

Both actions were product liability cases arising from alleged occupational and bystander exposure to asbestos brake products manufactured by the firm's client between 1969 and 2009. Mr. Shapiro obtained dismissal of an action in Florida for lack of jurisdiction on behalf of the firm's client, but Gordon & Rees' client was sued again by different counsel in another case in California. Oakland attorneys Mr. Scadden and Mr. Mokhtarzadeh took on the case, a related complaint that had been served pursuant to The Hague Convention, building upon Mr. Shapiro's work to seek dismissal.

Recognizing that there was no basis for California courts to exercise jurisdiction over the firm's client, the Gordon & Rees California team filed a motion to dismiss the service of summons based on lack of personal jurisdiction. They argued that Gordon & Rees' client does not have any connection to California that renders it amenable to suit there under the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution. Judge McKinney of Alameda County Superior Court, in agreement with the team's argument that the Japanese company has never “purposefully availed” itself of the California market, dismissed the claim and denied the plaintiffs’ request to conduct jurisdictional discovery.  

This success and others like it are instrumental in resisting the push by plaintiffs’ counsel to expand the pool of solvent defendants to pay on asbestos lawsuits.