Asbestos defendant says Philly court has no jurisdiction over it

By Nicholas Malfitano | Sep 17, 2015

Stephen J. Galati  

PHILADELPHIA – An attorney representing an asbestos suit’s out-of-state defendant says the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas has no jurisdiction over his client.

Stephen J. Galati, defense counsel for International Shipholding Corporation, said in a March 20 motion for preliminary objections that the Philadelphia court system completely lacks jurisdiction over the company and it is an improper venue.

Galati’s motion explained International Shipholding Corporation is a Delaware corporation that maintains headquarters in Alabama, and has no presence in Philadelphia.

A hearing in this matter was set for Wednesday at Philadelphia City Hall, in Court chambers.

Plaintiff Theresa A. Causey of Raymond, Miss., the executrix of the estate of her late father Thomas Eugene Griffith, filed a lawsuit in January (which she amended in March) to allege negligence on the part of the companies Griffith worked for in exposing him to asbestos and later causing his fatal diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Griffith (Dec. 1, 1930 – May 15, 2012) worked a long career aboard a number of seagoing vessels controlled by the following defendants: Alcoa Steamship Company of Pittsburgh, International Shipholding Corporation of New York, Keystone Tankship Corporation of Philadelphia, Central Gulf Lines of New Orleans. and Trans Union of Chicago.

The lawsuit also states Griffith regularly sailed in and out of Philadelphia ports in 1968 and from 1971-1972.

Griffith was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2012, caused by exposure to asbestos dust fibers. The examination leading to the diagnosis also determined Griffith had not been a cigarette smoker. Griffith was survived by his wife, “Minnie” Evelyn Griffith, who later passed away herself on Oct. 12, 2012.

The suit levies charges of negligence, maintenance, cure and unseaworthiness against the defendants that employed Griffith and owned/operated the ships in question. 

The plaintiff is represented by Marc P. Weingarten and Melanie Garner, of Locks Law Firm in Philadelphia, and attorneys pro hac vice Dennis J. Weitzel and Bret Gainsford, of Morgan & Morgan in Orlando.

The defendants are represented by Stephen J. Galati, of Mattioni Ltd. in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150103184

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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