Spanish ship workers can sue Owens-Illinois for asbestos — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Spanish ship workers can sue Owens-Illinois for asbestos

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Fifteen Spanish workers are suing Owens-Illinois, Inc., based in Perrysburg, over asbestos exposure. A New Jersey appellate panel reversed a lower court ruling that dismissed the workers’ suit due to lack of jurisdiction.

Mitchell Cohen, a lawyer for the workers, said New Jersey is the only place the case could be tried. “Spanish law will not allow [the plaintiffs], under the facts of these cases, to file a claim in Spain” because the injuries occurred on sovereign U.S. territory—U.S. Navy warships.

The plaintiffs worked for private contractors between 1950 and 1998 at a jointly-owned U.S.-Spanish military installation in Rota, Spain, or at neighboring private shipyards. The ships’ asbestos insulation came from Owens-Illinois plants in New Jersey.

Final note: It’s very possible your organization might be sued in a jurisdiction far from home. Always have an attorney review your contracts to see if they include an inconvenient “choice of forum” clause.

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