Boiler Manufacturer Ordered to Disclose All Documents Referencing Asbestos or Asbestos-Containing Materials

In this NYCAL case, a June 23, 2014 order denied defendant Cleaver-Brooks’ motion to vacate a November 9, 2013 order of the Special Master directing the production of “all its commercial files, all other relevant documents and records, and its index card database.”  The order also denied Cleaver-Brook’s application for a confidentiality order and cost sharing.

In a unanimous decision, the appellate court modified the order holding that Cleaver-Brooks had to produce all documents that reference asbestos or asbestos-containing products, parts or components used for its boilers. As the court held: “We reject defendant’s contention that the electronic database, which defendant acknowledges is a duplicate of documents it uses in the regular course of business, is privileged. Nevertheless, because the responsive documents to which plaintiffs are entitled are limited to those that reference asbestos or asbestos-containing products, plaintiffs are not entitled to the more expansive database. Similarly, plaintiffs are not entitled to defendant’s compilation of index cards identifying each job site and location and the boiler unit number for the boiler installed at the job site. However, to the extent defendant provides plaintiff with direct access to its files and records for plaintiff to search for responsive documents, and the index cards are necessary to facilitate that search, Supreme Court may, in its discretion, enter an appropriate order.”

The court granted the application for the confidentiality order and stated “Defendant may renew its application for cost sharing at such time after the commencement of production as the magnitude and equities of the task have become clearer.”

Read the full decision here.