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 was used at these worksites.
American Biltrite argued the plaintiff failed to demonstrate general causation as he did not offer any scientific evidence to prove that the floor tiles release chrysotile asbestos fibers at a level capable of being a substantial contributing factor to the development of lung cancer in the general population. In support of its claims, American Biltrite offered expert affidavits and reports, which concluded that the plaintiff did not have sufficient exposure to American Biltrite products to deem it a substantial contributing factor to his development of lung cancer.
In response, the plaintiff submitted its own medical expert report, demonstrating that the plaintiff was exposed to sufficient levels of asbestos to contribute to his development of lung cancer. In contrast to American Biltrite’s expert, the plaintiff’s expert claimed that cumulative exposure to asbestos from American Biltrite’s product was a substantial contributing factor to the plaintiff’s development of lung cancer and subsequent death.
Based on the conflicting expert reports, the court determined that there was a “credibility issue that cannot be resolved without jury consideration.” The court found that the plaintiff had produced evidence of causation related to American Biltrite and therefore denied American Biltrite’s motion for summary judgment.