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Spencer v. Specialty Foundry Prods.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

March 17, 2020, Decided

No. 19-14427

Opinion

 [*737]  MARTIN, Circuit Judge:

Kelvin Spencer and 229 other former workers at the Grede Foundry in Bessemer, Alabama (collectively, the "Plaintiffs") say they were harmed by exposure to hazardous and harmful chemical substances released and formed at the foundry. The foundry is now out of business, so the Plaintiffs filed suit in Alabama state court against ten entities that manufactured, sold, supplied, and distributed the products they believe harmed them (the "Defendants").1 One Defendant removed the case to federal court, citing the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 ("CAFA"), Pub. L. No. 109-2, 119 Stat. 4 (codified in scattered sections of 28 U.S.C.), as the basis for removal. The Plaintiffs moved to remand the case back to state court. The District Court granted their motion, finding that the Plaintiffs' action falls within the local [**3]  event exception to CAFA's grant of federal jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(11)(B)(ii)(I). The Defendants sought leave to appeal, which we granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1453(c).

After careful consideration, and with the benefit of oral argument, we vacate the District Court's grant of the motion to remand.

A. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

From an unknown date until its closing in 2016 or 2017, the Grede Foundry "engaged in the making of foundry casted metal parts and related moulding, coring, and finishing processes." All 230 Plaintiffs worked at the foundry for some period of time and claim to have been harmed by the use of the Defendants' products. Not all Plaintiffs worked at the foundry at the same time, nor were their jobs the same. For example, one Plaintiff who started at the foundry in 1997 worked in the "core room" and drove a forklift to unload delivery trucks. Another Plaintiff started at the foundry in 1981 and left in 2015. This Plaintiff was a supervisor and, from approximately 1995 until 2015, assisted in the ordering of chemicals to be used at the foundry.

The Defendants marketed, manufactured, distributed, and sold products used at the foundry in the process of foundry casting and finishing metal parts. Three Defendants manufactured [**4]  specialized shell core sand or foundry sand that was used in the core room or the foundry area. Two different Defendants manufactured chemical resins, binders, setting catalysts, and chemically treated foundry sand premix products. Two additional Defendants manufactured specialized foundry chemical products, including triethylamine liquid or gas ("T-gas") and a release agent ("Zip Slip"), that were used for moulding, coring, casting, finishing or other foundry processes.  [*738]  Finally, two Defendants both manufactured their own products and distributed products made by the other Defendants.

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953 F.3d 735 *; 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 8341 **; 28 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. C 912

KELVIN SPENCER, et al., Plaintiffs - Appellees, versus SPECIALTY FOUNDRY PRODUCTS INC., et al., Defendants - Appellants.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. D.C. Docket No. 2:18-cv-01023-MHH.

Specialty Foundry Prods. v. Spencer, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 33771 (11th Cir. Ala., Nov. 12, 2019)

CORE TERMS

occurrence, foundry, Plaintiffs', products, district court, Defendants', allegations, harm-causing, state court, culminating, federal court, Dictionary, chemical, singular, federal jurisdiction, manufactured, connected, happening, circumstances, harmed, ordinary meaning, period of time, pollutants, discrete, injuries, sand

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Clearly Erroneous Review, De Novo Review, Jurisdiction, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Special Proceedings, Class Actions, Class Action Fairness Act, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation