Wrongful-death claims against a Taiwanese business and its California subsidiary over the electrocution of a worker have been dismissed by U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh.
In a ruling issued Nov. 3, Limbaugh found that the family of the late Marreo Travis, who brought the lawsuit, did not properly serve the Taiwanese company Good Will, the designer of the product found to be responsible for the workplace death.
Claims against California-based Good Will's subsidiary Instek, a wholesaler that purchase all its products from its parent company, also were dismissed.
According to background information in the ruling, the product used by Travis, a "Tenma AC Power Source," was manufactured in China. Good Will then sold it to another company -- also a defendant -- "Element 14," which did business for another co-defendant Newark Corp.
The sale was finalized in China, and Good Will shipped the product from China, where title passed to Newark, and on to South Carolina, the ruling states.
Regarding Instek, Limbaugh held that it did not design, manufacture, buy or sell the product.
"It was not involved with any transactions relating to the Product," the ruling states.
Good Will's arguments to dismiss centered on two grounds: that it was not properly served under federal civil procedures and that the court does not have personal jurisdiction over it because it does not have sufficient minimum contacts with Missouri as required under due process.
Good Will argued that service was improper because plaintiffs served Instek, its domestic subsidiary, and its subsidiary is not its agent. It also claimed that it should have been served according to Taiwanese laws.
Plaintiffs "wholly ignored" Good Will's argument that it must be served under Taiwanese law, Limbaugh wrote.
"Thus, plaintiffs have not made a prima facie showing that Good Will was properly served," he wrote. "So this Court does not have jurisdiction over Good Will. Neither party asked the Court to simply quash the service, so the plaintiffs’ claims against Good Will are dismissed."