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Foley, Baron & Metzger Sets Precedent: Governmental Contractor Defense Not Limited to Military Contractors
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A leading Detroit area law firm, Foley, Baron & Metzger, PLLC, recently set a new precedent regarding federal jurisdiction based on the governmental contractor defense. According to today’s press release at PR Newswire, the ruling established the governmental contractor defense is not limited to military contractor.

Foley represented MIS Corporation (MIS), an environmental remediation contractor, which had been hired by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to remediate mold contaminating the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport Air Traffic Control Tower (DTW-ATCT).

Several DTW air traffic controllers employed by the FAA claimed they had become ill from exposure to toxic mold. When they filed lawsuits against the FAA, they were dismissed due to workers’ compensation protection for the government.

  
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Following the dismissal, the air traffic controllers sued MIS and other mold and environmental consultants in Wayne County Circuit Court, alleging MIS and other defendants were negligent in proper elimination of mold in the air traffic control tower.

FBM attorneys Richard S. Baron and Brian H. Phinney removed the lawsuit to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on the grounds MIS was a federal contractor and therefore was entitled to present its defenses in a federal forum. FBM also filed a motion to dismiss, claiming MIS was contracted by the FAA and conducted work in accordance with detailed directives, and it owed no separate and distinct duty to the plaintiffs. The District Court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit following the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling in Fultz v. Union-Commerce Associates.

The plaintiffs appealed these rulings in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Sixth Circuit held MIS was entitled to rely on the governmental contractor defense.

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Richard Baron of Foley, Baron & Metzger, PLLC, was quoted as saying: “Companies that provide products and services to the federal government should be able to defend themselves in federal court. This ruling has broad implications for manufacturers, distributors and consultants doing business with the federal government.”

Foley, Baron & Metzger, PLLC, headquartered in the Detroit, Ann Arbor, Michigan area, is a broad-service law firm providing environmental, products and corporate legal services throughout the United States.





 

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