Category Archives: New York

Court Rejects Appeals of Crane Co. in Three NYCAL Matters Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, October 6, 2016

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York issued three decisions rejecting appeals of Crane Co. arising from verdicts for Plaintiffs in three separate trials out of New York County. In Peraica v. A.O. Smith, et al., a jury on December 3, 2013 awarded the plaintiffs $9,900,000 for past pain and suffering against defendant Crane Co., with an order to vacate the award and order new trial as to such damages unless the plaintiffs stipulated to a reduced award of $4.25…

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Court Grants Summary Judgment After Plaintiff Fails to Establish Elements to Pierce the Corporate Veil U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York , August 23, 2016

The plaintiff, Kelan Unterberg, brought this action against multiple defendants for his alleged development of mesothelioma. His complaint lodged three separate causes of action including negligence under the Jones Act, breach of warranty of sea worthiness and reasonable fitness under U.S. Maritime law, and remedy of maintenance and cure. All of the counts were related to Unterberg’s alleged exposure to asbestos aboard several civilian vessels while working as a chief engineer and merchant seaman from 1973-78. The plaintiff, a citizen of Germany, first brought this…

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Summary Judgment Denied Where Defendant Merely Pointed to Gaps in Evidence and Asked Court to Weigh Credibility of Witness Supreme Court of New York, New York County, August 22, 2016

In this case, the plaintiff Gaspar Hernandez-Vega alleges that he developed mesothelioma as a result of his alleged exposure to asbestos-containing products while working as a pipefitter. At his deposition, Hernandez-Vega testified interchangeably to work with “Edward valves,” “Vogt valves,” and “Edward-Vogt valves” that exposed him to asbestos through his changing of the packing and gaskets applied to those valves. The defendant Flowserve is the successor in interest for Edward Valves, Inc., the Vogt Valve Company, and Edward-Vogt (created following a merger of the two…

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Court Rules Summary Judgment Not Appropriate Due to Ambiguity on How Non-Cumulation Clause Operated U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, August 5, 2016

Liberty Mutual Insurance Company issued successive annual insurance policies to the Fairbanks Company from January 1, 1974 to January 1, 1982. Liberty issued both comprehensive general liability and umbrella policies. Multiple lawsuits were filed in several jurisdictions against Fairbanks, alleging injuries due to exposure to asbestos, and this coverage litigation resulted. On March 21, 2016, the court ruled on Liberty’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that the policies were subject to pro rata allocation such that Liberty was only liable to indemnify Fairbanks for the…

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$3.5 Million Verdict Against National Grid Generation, LLC Upheld Supreme Court of New York, August 4, 2016

On August 4, 2016, the Supreme Court of New York affirmed the jury’s award of $3.5 million against defendant National Grid Generation, LLC. The evidence showed that LILCO, National Grid’s predecessor in interest, issued detailed specifications directing contractors on how to mix and apply asbestos-containing concrete and insulation at a power plant. This supported the jury’s finding of a violation of Labor Law § 200. The fact that LILCO ensured that its directives were followed by supervising the superintendents, rather than by directly supervising the…

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Court Refuses to Consolidate Four In Extremis Cases for Joint Trial Supreme Court of New York, New York County, July 27, 2016

The plaintiffs moved pursuant to CPLR 602 for an order consolidating four in extremis cases for a joint trial: Herman Anderson, Mercedes Abreu, Patrick Demartino, and Mario Scalera. Defendant Ford opposed consolidation in all four cases. Ingersoll Rand Co. and Aurora Pump Co. also opposed in the Demartino case, Weil-McClain opposed in the Abreu case, Genuine Parts Co. and ArvinMeritor, Inc. opposed in Anderson, and Pneumo Abex Corp. and Maremont Corp. opposed in Anderson and Demartino. In denying the plaintiffs motion to consolidate,…

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Argument That Plaintiff’s Counsel Misrepresented Return of Privileged Memo Unavailing; Defendant’s Own Actions Waived Privilege Supreme Court of New York, July 14, 2016

Defendant J-M Manufacturing Company, Inc. moved to vacate the Recommendation of the Special Master finding that J-M waived privilege. In so doing, the defendant argued the Special Master erroneously applied New York law instead of California law in determining that the defendant waived the attorney-client privilege attached to the redacted and unredacted versions of a 1983 memo from the defendant’s in-house counsel to its president. The plaintiff opposed the motion. In its motion to vacate, J-M argued the memo was first inadvertently produced in a…

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Appellate Court Grants New Trial Due to Lower Court’s Error on Jury Charge as to “Recklessness Standard” Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

In the matter of the Estate of Lee Holdsworth, in the Supreme Court of New York, Erie County (Lower Court), judgment was entered against the defendant Crane Co. upon a jury verdict finding that Crane Co. was 35 percent liable for the damages arising from injuries sustained by Lee Holdsworth (the plaintiff’s decedent) as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products used as component parts with the valves that defendant produced. The jury also determined the defendant acted with reckless disregard for the safety of…

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Plaintiff Could Not Side-Step Manville Trust by Directly Suing Defendant Where Claim was a Pre-Petition Claim Subject to Discharge by Bankruptcy U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, June 30, 2016

The plaintiff, Lynda Berry, filed an asbestos lawsuit in Louisiana against Graphic Packaging International for mesothelioma due secondary exposure from her husband’s work at the Manville Forest Products (MFP) mill from 1961-2010. The plaintiff’s petition included claims against Manville for asbestos it produced, and claims against Graphic for negligently maintaining the premises. Graphic filed an emergency motion for enforcement of the bankruptcy confirmation orders of the Johns-Manville Corporation and MFP. Graphic argued it was a successor of MFP, and as such, the plaintiff must first…

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Summary Judgment Denied to Talc Defendant on Statute of Limitations, Burden of Proof, and Causation Issues Supreme Court of New York, New York County, June 22, 2016

In this asbestos personal injury action the plaintiffs allege that Arlene Feinberg contracted mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc from defendant Colgate-Palmolive Company’s Cashmere Bouquet. Colgate moved for summary judgment, arguing 1) the plaintiffs’ action is barred by the statute of limitations; 2) the plaintiffs failed to exclude other potential causes of Ms. Feinberg’s mesothelioma; 3) the plaintiffs failed to prove that Cashmere Bouquet caused the mesothelioma; and 4) that there is no evidence of general or specific causation. The plaintiffs opposed summary judgment,…

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