Cases & Deals

Manufacturer of mining products obtains pretrial dismissals in four nationwide fatal injury cases

Client(s) Global manufacturer of underground mining products

In the last year, Jones Day’s Pittsburgh Office has secured pretrial dismissals in four fatal-injury cases filed against a client, a global manufacturer of underground mining products. Jones Day achieved the dismissals early in litigation in such diverse and challenging jurisdictions such as Jasper, Alabama; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Alabama case was brought by the estate of an underground miner who died in a roof collapse. Using targeted motions practice, Jones Day was able to eliminate several of plaintiffs’ claims even before answering the complaint, leaving the plaintiffs with a claim of negligence alone. Then, with minimal discovery, Jones Day filed for and was granted summary judgment based on the lack of legal duty. The court dismissed all claims against the client with prejudice.

Similarly, the Louisiana case was brought by the estate of a miner who died in a roof collapse in a salt mine. The Court allowed limited jurisdictional discovery, which provided Jones Day an opportunity to lay the groundwork for an early summary judgment motion. Jones Day filed an answer along with a motion for summary judgment using the results of the jurisdictional discovery to show that its client’s products were not defective and its client had no role in the mine’s decisions about ground control and the installation of ground-support systems. The court granted summary judgment and dismissed with prejudice.

In the Philadelphia and New Mexico cases, the decedents’ estates pursued claims of manufacturing and design defects and negligence. Before answering the complaints, Jones Day was able to demonstrate that its client’s products were not associated with the alleged injuries, and as a result, the plaintiffs dismissed all claims against the client.

Ward v. Drummond Company, Inc., et al., No. 64-cv-2007-900170.00 (Walker Cty, Ala. Circ. Ct.)