Prudential Insurance Co. of America's federal racketeering lawsuit against United States Gypsum Co. and other asbestos manufacturers has been dismissed by a federal judge, 14 years after it was filed.
Prudential had sued United States Gypsum and six other firms in October 1987 to recover the cost of asbestos removal from 61 buildings it owned in several U.S. cities. The case was consolidated and later covered 18 buildings and four companies.
U.S. District Judge Harold A. Ackerman ruled in New Jersey that the four-year statute of limitations had expired for Newark-based Prudential before it claimed that the asbestos makers had violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Ackerman agreed with U.S. Gypsum's argument that "the statute of limitations should begin to run from when Prudential first knew or should have known of such potential for injury, which was well before Oct. 20, 1983."
Ackerman also said that his ruling would not prevent Prudential from pursuing its claims in state court.