The Missouri Supreme Court recently affirmed the dismissal of a toxic tort case obtained by a team led by Lamson Dugan & Murray attorney Daniel J. Hassing. The decision once again evidences the talent of LDM attorneys who were able to obtain a dismissal in the trial court and then defend it in the appellate courts.
In the case, the plaintiff sued a Class I railroad, alleging that occupational exposure to diesel exhaust and other substances had caused her husband to develop lung cancer, a disease he ultimately succumbed to. The plaintiff alleged that she was the personal representative of her husband’s estate, but she had never actually obtained appointment from a probate court. LDM moved to dismiss, arguing that the Federal Employer’s Liability Act required an appointment for the suit to proceed. The court granted the plaintiff 30 days to obtain the appointment. When the plaintiff failed to meet this deadline, LDM renewed its motion to dismiss. The trial court granted this renewed motion to dismiss.
The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s dismissal to the Missouri Court of Appeals. That court reversed, 2-1. LDM then petitioned the Missouri Supreme Court to review the case, and the supreme court granted review, an action it takes in only a small fraction of cases.
After briefing, Hassing argued the case in January 2021. Just weeks later, the Missouri Supreme Court issued an unanimous opinion, concluding that the trial court had correctly dismissed the case. The court adopted Hassing’s argument that the plaintiff had failed to establish excusable neglect that justified her failure to obtain appointment within the time allowed by the court. This decision concluded the matter for LDM’s client.
This case is just another example of the stellar representation that LDM provides at all levels of litigation. Hassing and so many other attorneys at LDM have the rare combination of skills necessary to obtain a favorable ruling in the trial court and then defend it on appeal.