U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms Declaratory Judgment Action in Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Deborah Amling, personally and as personal representative for the Estate of Robert N. Amling, brought this lawsuit for the wrongful death of her husband against Harrow Industries LLC and others.

Amling and her husband, Robert, sued Harrow Industries and other businesses in Illinois state court for causing Robert to develop mesothelioma by exposing him to asbestos. Two years later, the Amlings sued Harrow again, this time in federal court, seeking a declaratory judgment on the meaning of an asset-purchase agreement between Harrow and another company, Nexus, also a defendant in the Amlings’ Illinois state lawsuit.

The federal district court judge thought the declaratory judgment action unripe and dismissed it. Even if it were ripe, the judge ruled in the alternative, she would decline to exercise jurisdiction over it. The Amlings appealed. Unfortunately, Robert died while this appeal was pending. Deborah now brings these state and federal lawsuits in her own right and as a representative of Robert’s estate.

In affirming, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago stated that it was virtually certain that the Amlings’ Illinois lawsuit would answer the question presented by their federal lawsuit; whether under the terms of the asset-purchase agreement, Harrow or Nexus could be liable for their injuries. That fact makes this a live controversy but simultaneously justifies the federal district court’s sound exercise of its discretion in deciding not to issue a declaratory judgment.

Accordingly, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the declaratory judgment action referring the underlying cases back to the Illinois court for further disposition.

Amling v. Harrow Industries, LLC, 19-1805 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, Nov. 19, 2019).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling wrongful death lawsuits, asbestos exposure lawsuits, mesothelioma cases, product liability lawsuits and truck accident lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including River Grove, Schiller Park, Norridge, Rosemont, Park Ridge, Morton Grove, Prospect Heights, Arlington Heights, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Highland Park, Highwood, Olympia Fields, Northfield, Chicago (West Ridge, Rogers Park, Ravenswood, Albany Park, Norwood Park, Edison Park, Lower West Side, Douglas Park, McKinley Park, Bridgeport, Douglas, Oakland, Prairie Shores, Near South Side, Printer’s Row, Little Italy, Greek Town, Fulton Market, Near East Side, Streeterville), Forest Park, Bellwood, Stone Park, Berkeley, Hillside, Aurora, Wheaton, Bensenville, Hinsdale and Evergreen Park, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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