Vicknair v. Phelps Dodge Industries, Inc.

20080139 Joseph M. Vicknair; Anthony Whitaker;
Theresa Zefiretto, as personal representative
for the Estate of Liborio Zefiretto;
Robert Ulshafer; John Sehr; Ray Brunet,
individually, and as personal representative
for the Estate of Eugene P. Brunet, deceased;
Violet Cooper, individually, and as personal
representative for the Estate of William H.
Cooper, deceased; Janice Hilborn, individually,
and as personal representative for the Estate
of August Freeman, deceased; Mildred Pastva,
individually, and as personal representative
for the Estate of John G. Pastva, deceased;
Cheryl Pernell, individually, and as personal
representative for the Estate of Eddie
Pernell, Sr., deceased; Lisa Sangerman,
individually, and as personal representative
for the Estate of Richard A. Christofretti,
deceased; Margaret Swygert, individually,
and as personal representative for the Estate
of Cromwell Swygert, deceased; Ruby Todd,
individually, and as personal representative
for the Estate of David D. Todd, deceased;
Rona Pourier, individually, and as personal
representative for the Estate of Hobert
Ecoffey, deceased; and Patrick Blando,
individually, and as personal representative
for the Estate of Wendell Blando, deceased; Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
Phelps Dodge Industries, Inc.; A.H. Bennett
Company; A.W. Kuettel & Sons, Inc.; Border
States Industries, Inc.; Columbia Boiler Co.;
Crane Co,; Dossert Corporation; DuctSox Corporation
f/k/a Frommelt Safety Products; Superior Essex Group
(individually and as successor-in-interest to Essex
International, Inc.); Excelsior, Inc.; Foster
Wheeler, LLC; Greene, Tweed & Company;
Houston Specialty Wire & Cable Corp.; Oakfabco
f/k/a Kewanee Boiler Corporation; Rockbestos-Surprenant
Cable Corp. (f/k/a The Rockbestos Company); Riley
Stoker Corporation; Robertson Ceco Corporation, f/k/a
H. H. Roberson Company; Sprinkman Sons Corporation;
Weil McLain Company; Zurn Industries, Inc.; American
Standard, Inc.; The Trane Company (a division of
American Standard Inc.); United Conveyor
Corporation; S.O.S. Products Company, Inc.;
Foseco, Inc.; Fuel Economy Engineering, Co.;
J.H. France Refractories Company; Smith-Sharpe Company;
Burnham LLC, f/k/a Burnham Corporation;
Bryan Steam Corporation; Certain-Teed Corporation;
Foster Products Corporation (as successor-in-interest
to Foster Products Division of H.P. Fuller
Company and to the Benjamin Foster Division
of AmChem Products, Inc.); Graybar Electric;
H.P. Fuller Company; Henry Vogt Machine Company;
Hobart Brothers Co.; Inductotherm Industries, Inc.;
The Jamar Company (individually and as
sucessor-in-interest and liability to the
Walker-Jamar Company); Kelsey-Hayes
Group (a division of Varity Corporation); Linde,
Inc., f/k/a BOC Group and/or Airco, Inc.;
Lincoln Electric Co.; Praxair Distribution,
Inc.; RCH Newco II; Rhone-Poulenc, Inc. (as
successor-in-interest to Benjamin Foster,
a division of AmChem Products Company);
Union Carbide Corporation; Uniroyal, Inc.;
and The Jamar Co., individually and as
successor-in-interest to Walker Jamar Company, Defendants and Appellees
and
999 Quebec, Inc. (a/k/a International Boiler Works
Company); ACandS, Inc. (individually and as
successor-in-interest to Armstrong Contracting &
Supply, Inc. and Keasby & Mattison Company); A.L.
Crump and Company, Inc.; A.P.I., Inc. (a/k/a A.P.I.
Company of Minnesota); A.W. Chesterton Company;
Anchor Packing Company; Apollo Piping &
Supply; Asbestos Corporation, Ltd.; Atlas Turner, Inc.;
Australian Blue Asbestos, Pty.; Bell & Gosset; Bell
Asbestos Mines, Ltd.; Building Sprinkler Company,
Inc.; CBS Corporation (f/k/a Westinghouse
Electric Corporation); Chromalox (a division of
Emerson Electric Company);Cleaver-Brooks, Division
of Aqua-Chem, Inc.; Combustion Engineering, Inc.
(successor-in-interest to M.H. Detrick Company,
Walsh Refractory Corporation and Refractory and
Insulation Corporation); Crown Cork & Seal Company,
Inc. (successor-in-interest to Mundet Cork Corporation);
CSR, Ltd. (a/k/a Colonial Sugar Refining Company, Ltd.)
individually and as an alter-ego of Australian Blue
Asbestos, Pty.; Dakota Welding Supply; Deltak, L.L.C.
(a Unit of Jason Inc.); Detroit Stoker; Draxton Sales;
Dresser Industries, Inc.; Durabla Manufacturing Company;
E.J. Lavino and Company, Inc.; Electric Supply Corp.;
Emerson Electric Co.; Ericsson, Inc. (f/k/a Cablec Corp.)
(as successor-in-interest to Anaconda Wire & Cable
Company); F.R.P. Products, Ltd.; F & C Supply, Inc.;
Fargo-Moorhead Insulation Company; Firebrick
Supply Co.; Fisher Governor Co.; Flintkote Company
(individually and as successor-in-interest to
Flintkote Mines, Ltd.); Flintkote Mines, Ltd.; Garlock, Inc.;
General Electric Company; George T. Walker & Co., Inc.;
Georgia-Pacific Corp.; Hercules Chemical Company,
Inc.; Hickory Insulation Co.; Honeywell, Inc.; Hopeman
Brothers, Inc.; Illinois Insulation Contracting
Company, Inc. (f/k/a Illinois Roofing & Insulation
Company); Ingersoll-Rand Company; Insulation Services,
Inc.; International Vermiculite Co.; Jerguson Gage & Valve;
John Crane, Inc. (successor-in-interest to John
Crane-Houdaille, Inc. and Crane Packing Company);
Johnston Boiler Co.; Lac d'Amiante du Quebec, Ltee.
(f/k/a Lake Asbestos of Quebec); Lochinvar; M.W.
Kellogg Company; MacArthur Company; Mandan
Electric Supply; Marmon Corporation; McMaster
Carr Supply Company; McNeil Refactories, Inc.;
Mellema Company; Metropolitan Life Insurance Company;
Mine Safety Appliance Company; Minnesota Mining &
Manufacturing; Northern Plumbing Supply, Inc.;
The Okonite Company, Inc.; Owens-Illinois, Inc.;
Parker Boiler Co.; Paul A. Douden; Pfizer, Inc.; Pipe,
Valve & Fittings Company; Power Process Equipment, Inc.;
Quigley Co., Inc.; Quin-T Corporation; Rapid-American
Corporation; Research Cottrell, Inc.;
Rockwell International Corporation; Rome Cable
Corp.(a subsidiary of Rome Group Inc.); Roughrider Supply;
Ryall Electric Supply Co.; Samuel Moore & Co.; SEPCO
Corporation; Stemmerich Supply Co.; Superior Boiler Works, Inc.;
Sussman Electric Boilers; Thermo Electric Co.; U.S. Filter Co.;
Union Boiler Co.; and Victor H. Leeby Company, Defendants

Appeal from: District Court, South Central Judicial District, Morton County
Judge Robert O. Wefald
Nature of Action: Torts (Negligence, Liab., Nuis.)
Counsel:
Appellant: David C. Thompson, P.C.
Appellant: Boechler Law Firm
Appellee: Lawyer not licensed in N.D.
Appellee: Serkland Law Firm
Appellee: Pearce & Durick
Appellee: Lawyer not licensed in N.D.
Appellee: Storslee Law Firm, P.C.
Appellee: Kyle Brown Mansfield
Appellee: David Thomas Schach
Appellee: Vogel Law Firm
Appellee: Lawyer not licensed in N.D.
Appellee: Zuger Kirmis & Smith
Appellee: Nicholas John O'Connell
Appellee: Oppegard & Quinton
Appellee: Richard John Leighton
Appellee: Thomas Dice Jensen
Appellee: Kent Benedict Gravelle
Appellee: Solberg Stewart Miller
Appellee: John Christopher Hughes
Term: 03/2009   Argument: 03/18/2009  2:45pm
ND cite: 2009 ND 113
NW cite: 767 N.W.2d 171

Listen to recording of oral argument in MP3 format

Issues: Appellant's Statement of the Issues:
A.The District Court committed error by dismissing the plaintiffs'/appellants' claims, while completely disregarding the essential threshold requirement that the doctrine of forum non conveniens may only be applied in those instances in which "an alternative forum" actually does exist.
B.The District Court committed error by failing to even consider the established doctrine of forum non conveniens which presupposes that the putative alternative forum is available, where "all defendants" may be joined in that alternative forum.
C.The District Court committed error by its failure to find that the defendants' motions for dismissal on purported forum non conveniens grounds were untimely - because they were not filed by the defendants until three (3) to five (5) years after the commencement of the plaintiffs' asbestos-related product liability actions.
D.The District Court committed error by its failure to recognize that where North Dakota corporations remained in the instant cases as co-defendants of the above-referenced several moving defendants, application of the "venue-giving" defendant principle, whereby "once venue is proper for one defendant, it is proper for all other defendants subject to process", served to bar dismissal of this action on forum non conveniens grounds.
E.The Privileges and Immunities Clause of the United States Constitution (Article IV, Section 2, Paragraph 1) prevents application of the doctrine of forum non-conveniens in favor of the moving defendants or any other defendant in the above-captioned case, and this federal constitutional provision thus requires denial of these defendants' motions for dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds.

Appellee's Statement of the Issues:
1. Whether the plaintiffs' missing the limitation periods of the appropriate forums saves their claims from forum non conveniens dismissal.
A. Whether an adequate alternative forum is a requirement of North Dakota forum non conveniens analysis, or simply a factor to be considered.
B. Whether a plaintiff's missing the limitation period in the appropriate forum before suing here makes that forum inadequate.
C. Whether a plaintiff's missing the limitation period in the appropriate forum after suing here makes that forum inadequate.
2. Whether a forum non conveniens dismissal requires that the alternative forums have personal jurisdiction over the defendants when the plaintiffs cannot sue there anyway because they missed the limitation periods.
3. Whether the district court judge properly exercised his discretion in granting forum non conveniens motions made before trial in this complex litigation.
4. Whether the plaintiffs' suing North Dakota companies precludes forum non conveniens analysis.
5. Whether forum non conveniens violates the privileges and immunities clause of the federal constitution when it applies to both North Dakota citizens and non-citizens alike.


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Docket entries:
106/17/2008 NOTICE OF APPEAL: 06/16/2008
206/19/2008 RECORD ON APPEAL
306/19/2008 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION: Maring, Mary Muehlen
406/26/2008 NOTICE OF CROSS APPEAL by Phelps Dodge Industries
506/26/2008 Clerk's Supplemental Certificate of Record dated June 25, 2008, with entries 8-9 attached
607/11/2008 DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO INCLUDE THE ENTIRETY OF THE TWO ORIGINAL CASES IN THE RECORD ON APPEAL.
707/11/2008 NO ACTION TAKEN (DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO INCLUDE THE ENTIRETY OF THE TWO ORIGINAL CASES IN THE ROA)
807/21/2008 Clerk's Second Supplemental Certificate of Record on Appeal dated July 18, 2008, w/attach 10-20
907/21/2008 NOTICE OF CROSS APPEAL filed by American Std, Trane Company, United Conveyor & SOS Products
1007/21/2008 NOTICE OF CROSS APPEAL filed by A.H. Bennett Co.; A.W. Kuettel & Sons; et al.
1107/21/2008 Request and Order for Transcript by Appellees A.H. Bennett Co., et al.
1207/21/2008 NOTICE OF CROSS APPEAL filed by Crane Co.
1307/28/2008 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLANT BRIEF
1407/28/2008 ACTION BY CLERK (MAT). Granted: 08/25/2008
1508/05/2008 Misc. correspondence regarding Mot. to Include Entire Record filed in trial court
1608/11/2008 Sua Sponte Motion for Remand to trial court
1708/11/2008 ACTION BY ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE (Mot/Remand) (Sua Sponte). Granted
1808/11/2008 ORDER OF REMAND
1908/12/2008 Order of Remand Mailed to Parties
2008/14/2008 RECEIPT SIGNED BY DISTRICT COURT CLERK'S OFFICE
2108/19/2008 MOT. EXT/TIME TRANSCRIPT
2208/19/2008 ACTION BY TRIAL COURT (MTR). Granted: 09/14/2008
2308/21/2008 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLANT BRIEF
2408/21/2008 E-FILED MOTION (MAT)
2508/25/2008 ACTION BY SUPREME COURT. Granted: 11/17/2008
2609/22/2008 TRANSCRIPTS DATED July 13, 2006, December 8, 2006, & June 11, 2007
2709/22/2008 DISK - tra (7-13-06, 12-8-06, & 6-11-07) (e-mailed)
2809/22/2008 Proof of Service of Transcripts
2910/31/2008 Refiled RECORD ON APPEAL, w/Separate Nos. 14 & 30 (transcripts) and Record in Morton Co. No.
3010/31/2008 02-C-1680 (56 vols. & Trans. dated 4-20-06; not rec'd: 707-Substitution of Counsel
3110/31/2008 & 743-Defendant's Notice of Motion) and Record in Morton Co. No.
3210/31/2008 02-C-1681 (40 vols.) Not rec'd: 171-Substitution of Counsel/Consent; 291-Notice of Motion & Motion
3310/31/2008 to Admit Ailana T. McIntosh Pro Hac Vice; 292 (Affidavit of Aliana T. McIntosh); 293 (Affidavit of
3410/31/2008 Service by Mail; & 300 (Order--Aliana McIntosh)
3511/13/2008 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLANT BRIEF & Affidavit in Support (e-mailed)
3611/13/2008 E-FILED MOTION (Mot/Ext/ATB)
3711/13/2008 ACTION BY CLERK (Mot/Ext/ATB). Granted: 11/24/2008
3811/22/2008 MOTION OF APPELLANTS FOR DISMISSAL OF ALL CROSS-APPEALS & MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT. RspDue: 12/05/2008
3911/24/2008 APPELLANT BRIEF (e-filed)
4011/24/2008 E-FILED BRIEF (ATB)
4111/24/2008 APPELLANT APPENDIX (e-filed) PDF
4211/24/2008 E-FILED APPENDIX (PDF)
4311/25/2008 MOTION FOR Extension of Time to File Response to Motion for Dismissal of All Cross-Appeal
4411/25/2008 ACTION BY CLERK (granted/extension to file responses). Granted: 12/11/2008
4511/28/2008 Received $152.50 surcharge for ATB, ATA, and Motion. (Receipt #18631)
4612/02/2008 Received 7 copies of ATB from Central Duplicating
4712/02/2008 Received 6 copies of ATA from Central Duplicating
4812/04/2008 Updated Affidavits of Robert E. Diehl & Heather H. Neubuer
4912/04/2008 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION: Kapsner, Carol Ronning
5012/04/2008 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION: Crothers, Daniel John
5112/11/2008 APPELLEES & CROSS-APPELLANTS' OPPOSITION TO MOTION BY APPELLANTS FOR DISMISSAL OF ALL CROSS APPEALS
5212/11/2008 EFILED RESPONSE (Appellees & Cross Appellants' Opposition)
5312/12/2008 APPELLEES & CROSS-APPELLANTS' OPP. TO MOT. BY AT'S FOR DISMISSAL OF ALL CROSS APPEALS (STORSLEE)
5412/12/2008 EFILED RESPONSE (Appellees & Cross Appellants' Opposition) STORSLEE
5512/12/2008 MOTION TO FILE A REPLY TO RESPONSE (E-FILED)
5612/12/2008 E-FILED MOTION (MOTION TO FILE A REPLY TO RESPONSE)
5712/16/2008 ACTION BY CHIEF JUSTICE (MOT. TO FILE REPLY TO THE RESPONSE).. Granted: 12/23/2008
5812/23/2008 Response Filed
5912/23/2008 E-FILED MOTION (Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion by Appellants, etc.)
6001/02/2009 E-filing surcharge for Reply Memorandum; receipt no. 18665
6101/02/2009 SITTING WITH THE COURT: Hodny, William F.
6201/13/2009 ACTION BY SUPREME COURT (Mot. Dismiss All Cross-Appeal). Granted
6301/13/2009 Reset due date for Appellees' Briefs after dismissal of cross-appeals
6401/13/2009 Reset due date for Appellees' Briefs after dismissal of cross-appeals. Granted: 02/12/2009
6502/09/2009 APPELLEE BRIEF (Phelps Dodge Industries, Inc.)
6602/09/2009 APPELLEE APPENDIX (includes a cd at the back of the appendix) (Phelps Dodge Industries, Inc.)
6702/09/2009 DISK of AEB (CD) (Phelps Dodge Industries, Inc.)
6802/10/2009 Letter from Michael D. Sharkey dated 2-10-09 RE: Appellee Fuel Economy Engineering Co. rests upon
6902/10/2009 the arguments made by other appellees
7002/10/2009 Updated Affidavit of Michael D. Sharkey (e-filed)
7102/11/2009 Ltr dtd 2-11-09 from Nicholas J. O'Connell re adopting and incorporating briefs of AE (e-mailed)
7202/12/2009 Letter from Steven Storslee dated 2-11-09 RE Crane Co. adopts & incorporates the briefs,submissions
7302/12/2009 & arguments of other appellees
7402/12/2009 E-mailed letter dated 2-12-09 from David Schach Re: United Conveyor Corporation & S.O.S. Products
7502/12/2009 Co. adopts & incorporates the briefs, submissions, & arguments of Appellee Phelps-Dodge Ind.
7602/12/2009 E-mailed letter dated 2-12-09 from Robert E. Diehl Re Appellees A.H. Bennett Co., A.W. Kuettel,
7702/12/2009 Border States Ind., Columbia Boiler Co., Dossert Corp., Ductsox Corp., Superior Essex,
7802/12/2009 Excelior, Inc., Foster Wheeler LLC, Greene, Tweed & Co., Houston Wire & Cable Co.,
7902/12/2009 Oakfabco, Inc. (f/k/a Kewanee Boil Corp.), Rockbestos-Surprenant Cable Corp., Riley Stoker
8002/12/2009 Corp., RCH Newco II, LLC, f/k/a Robertson Ceco Corp. an alleged successor to H.H. Robertson Co.,
8102/12/2009 Sprinkmann Sons Corp. of Illinois, Weil-McLain, & Zurn Industries, LLC, f/k/a Zurn Industries,
8202/12/2009 adopt & incorporate the briefs, submissions, & arguments of Appellee Phelps-Dodge Industries
8302/13/2009 Letter from Shawnda Ereth dated 2-12-09 re: Burnham LLC adopts & incorporates briefs, submissions,
8402/13/2009 and arguments of other appellees
8502/16/2009 E-mailed Letter from Paul R. Oppegard dated 2-16-09 RE: Uniroyal;
8602/16/2009 Airco, Inc.; Hobart Brothers Company; Lincoln Electric Company; Praxair Distribution
8702/16/2009 Inc.; Inductotherm; Graybar; & Kelsey-Hayes adopt & incorporate briefs, submissions, &
8802/16/2009 of Appellee Phelps-Dodge
8902/17/2009 Faxed letter from W. Todd Haggart dated 2-17-09 RE: American Standard & The Trane Co. adopt the
9002/17/2009 briefs & arguments of Phelps-Dodge Industries
9102/17/2009 E-mailed letter from Jane Dynes dated 2-17-09 RE: Appellees Certainteed Corporation, H.P.
9202/17/2009 Fuller Company, Foster Products Corporation, Rhone-Poulenc, Inc. & Union Carbide Corporation
9302/17/2009 adopt & incorporate the briefs, submissions, and arguments of Phelps-Dodge Industries
9402/18/2009 E-mailed letter from Richard J. Leighton dated 2-18-09 RE: Appellees The Jamar Company and Walker
9502/18/2009 Jamar Company adopt & incorporate briefs, submissions, & arguments of Phelps Dodge Ind.
9602/19/2009 Letter from Thomas D. Jensen dated 2-16-09 RE: Appellee Smith-Sharpe Co. adopts & incorporates
9702/19/2009 the briefs, submissions, & arguments of Phelps-Dodge
9802/20/2009 Letter from Kent B. Gravelle dated 2-20-09 RE:Appellee Henry Vogt Machine Co. adopts & incorporates
9902/20/2009 the briefs, submissions, & arguments of Appellee Phelps Dodge Industries, Inc.
10002/23/2009 SITTING WITH THE COURT: Goodman, Ronald E.
10102/25/2009 E-mailed letter from Stacey Tjon Bossart dated 2-25-09 RE: Appellee Bryan Steam LLC adopts &
10202/25/2009 incorporates the briefs, submissions, & arguments of Phelps-Dodge
10302/25/2009 SITTING WITH THE COURT: Smith, Kirk
10402/27/2009 MOT. EXT/TIME REPLY BRIEF & BRIEF IN SUPPORT (e-filed)
10502/27/2009 E-FILED MOTION (MRY)
10602/27/2009 ACTION BY CLERK (MRY). Granted: 03/10/2009
10703/10/2009 MOT. EXT/TIME REPLY BRIEF
10803/10/2009 E-FILED MOTION - MRY
10903/11/2009 ACTION BY CLERK - MRY. Granted: 03/12/2009
11003/12/2009 REPLY BRIEF (e-filed)
11103/12/2009 E-FILED BRIEF (RYB)
11203/13/2009 Seven copies of RYB made
11303/18/2009 APPEARANCES: David C. Thompson; Larry L. Boschee
11403/18/2009 ARGUED: Thompson; Boschee
11503/18/2009 ORAL ARGUMENT WEBCAST
11606/29/2009 DISPOSITION: REVERSED AND REMANDED
11706/29/2009 UNANIMOUS OPINION: Sandstrom, Dale V.
11806/29/2009 Costs on appeal taxed in favor of Appellant's
11906/29/2009 Judgment e-mailed to Parties
12007/07/2009 PETITION FOR REHEARING
12107/07/2009 DISK - PER (CDROM)
12207/21/2009 MOTION FOR Substitute pages 1 & 2 (sua sponte)
12307/21/2009 ACTION BY SUPREME COURT (substitute pages 1 & 2 of Opinion). Granted
12407/21/2009 Substitute Opinion Pages 1 & 2
12507/24/2009 Order Mailed to Parties (substitute pages)
12607/31/2009 ACTION BY SUPREME COURT (Pet/Rehearing). Denied
12708/13/2009 MANDATE
12808/17/2009 RECEIPT SIGNED BY DISTRICT COURT CLERK'S OFFICE

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