News & Events

Fifth Circuit Affirms Removal of Automotive Product Liability Action Because Selling Dealer Was Improperly Joined

Butler Snow recently obtained a victory for a major U.S. automobile manufacturer in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The plaintiffs brought a product liability action in state court against the vehicle manufacturer and tried to defeat federal diversity jurisdiction by asserting numerous claims against the Mississippi dealership that sold the subject vehicle. The case was removed to federal court, and the district court dismissed the dealership, holding that it had been improperly joined as a defendant. On appeal, Butler Snow attorneys successfully argued that the plaintiffs failed to establish a possibility of recovery against the dealership on their claims for negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of express and implied warranties. Persuaded that the plaintiffs had failed to show the dealership was anything other than an innocent seller under Mississippi law, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision dismissing the claims against the dealership and denied the plaintiffs’ motion to remand the case to state court. Butler Snow attorneys Paul V. Cassisa, Jr. and Kari L. Sutherland successfully handled the appeal on behalf of the defendants