Denial of Summary Judgment Upheld in Labor Law Action Against Port Authority

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department

In this matter, the plaintiff brought Labor Law § 200 and common law negligence claims against Defendant, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The decedent alleged that he developed malignant pleural sarcomatoid mesothelioma as a result of occupational exposure to asbestos at John F. Kennedy International Airport while he worked for Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) in the 1970s. The decedent passed away before he was able to be deposed. Judge Manuel Mendez, …

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Unopposed Motion to Dismiss Based on Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Granted for Automotive Suppliers

Supreme Court of New York, New York County, January 8, 2021

In this instant matter, defendants Genuine Parts Company and National Automotive Parts Association, LLC’s (defendants) move to dismiss this action against them pursuant to CPLR §3211(a)(8) on the grounds that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over them. The defendants argued that they were not subject to the jurisdiction of the New York court as they were not residents of New York State. In support of their motions, the defendants submitted affidavits from their representatives, …

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Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction Granted to Oven Manufacturer

Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County

The plaintiff alleged that the decedent, Harvey A. Fitzwater, who was allegedly diagnosed with mesothelioma on October 10, 2016, was exposed to asbestos from using ovens manufactured by defendant Baker Perkins from 1965-67 at several locations in Alaska and Washington State. Baker Perkins moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, which was filed in the New York City Asbestos Litigation (New York County, New York), for lack of personal jurisdiction.

As to general jurisdiction, Baker …

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NYCAL Judge Grants Car Manufacturer Motion for Summary Judgment Based on Supporting Affidavit

Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County, January 6, 2021

The within matter was filed on behalf of the decedent, Patrick O’Sullivan, based on his alleged exposure to asbestos over the course of his career as a mechanic at various service stations throughout the 1970s. In 2012, the decedent died as a result of lung cancer allegedly caused by his exposure to asbestos. At his deposition, the decedent testified that he worked on Nissan branded vehicles in the 1970s, but he …

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Floor Tile Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied Due to Conflicting Expert Reports

Supreme Court of New York, New York County

In this action, defendant American Biltrite Inc. filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff has failed to establish general or specific causation for the plaintiff’s lung cancer in relation to American Biltrite’s products. The deceased plaintiff had alleged that his fatal lung cancer was caused by his exposure to asbestos over the course of his career as an electrician at three worksites, and the plaintiff had testified that floor tile made by American Biltrite …

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New Trial on Damages Directed in Talc Case Unless Plaintiffs Stipulate to Verdict Reduction

Supreme Court of New York, New York County

In June 2019, we reported on the jury verdict in the Olson matter. Following the verdict, Defendants Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. (J&J) moved to set aside the verdict and award under CPLR 4404(a). In the alternative, J&J moved for a new trial on liability and damages.

The court rejected J&J challenges to the award of compensatory damages as the jury’s verdict as to liability was supported by legally sufficient evidence. The jury …

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Federal Court Holds Underlying Policies Exhausted by Settlement; Grants Summary Judgment to Insurer on Excess Policy Reinsurance Claim

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, October 19, 2020

An insurer and its reinsurer were involved in a dispute over the reinsurer’s liability to reimburse a portion of a settlement that the insured had allocated to an excess liability policy subject to a contract of reinsurance. The insurer had issued three excess liability insurance policies to Asarco Inc., as part of a “coverage tower,” sequential layers of insurance Asarco purchased as part of its annual insurance program. The reinsurer reinsured the …

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Judgment Modified, Declaration Vacated as Court Erred in Granting Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Department

The plaintiffs, Carrier Corporation and Elliott Company, filed a declaratory judgment and breach of contract action, wherein they sought declarations of the rights and obligations of the parties under liability insurance policies issued by various insurers, including the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (defendant). Carrier Corporation and Elliott Company are once-related entities who face lawsuits alleging personal injuries from asbestos exposure relating to their products. In November 2018, the court granted five motions for partial summary judgment …

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Motion to Consolidate Granted Joining Two NYCAL Cases Against Same Defendant

The plaintiffs in two asbestos product liability actions, represented by the same attorneys, moved to consolidate for purposes of a joint trial pursuant to CPLR § 602(a). Defendant Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc. is the single remaining defendant in both actions. In NYCAL, the plaintiffs must show that joinder is appropriate pursuant to the Malcolm v. National Gypsum Co. factors. Notably, the plaintiffs must not meet every Malcolm factor to show that joinder is appropriate. Instead, a joint trial is appropriate when “individual issues do not …

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Jury Deviated From Reasonable Compensation in $13M Award, New York Appeals Court Rules

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York, August 6, 2020

The Appellate Division of the First Department of New York vacated a $13 million award in a mesothelioma case, stating that the award deviated from what would be “reasonable compensation” for the claims. During the initial trial, the jury awarded $4 million for future pain and suffering, $250,000 for future loss of consortium, $5.5 million for past pain and suffering, and $650,000 for past loss and suffering.

The appellate division upheld the $4 million …

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