General Denial Insufficient Objection to Personal Jurisdiction in NYCAL

NEW YORK — Wayne Gibson alleged that he developed mesothelioma in part from occasional work assisting mechanics with brakes, clutches and gaskets on Mack and Kenworth trucks while working as a driver for a Virginia based trucking company. With the exception of a six month stint in the Navy, Gibson never lived in the state of New York, nor was he exposed to asbestos in New York. The defendant Mack Truck, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation with its principal place of business in North Carolina filed a motion to dismiss Gibson’s claims against it for lack of personal jurisdiction. In doing so, Mack relied upon a general denial contained in its Answer. The court denied this motion and Mack filed a motion to reargue.

In denying the motion to reargue, the court strongly stated that “a defense based upon lack of jurisdiction is deemed waived if the defendant fails to assert it with specificity, such that it fails to fairly apprise the plaintiff of the defendant’s objections.” Citing more authority, the court added that generally denying the allegations of the complaint did not address questions regarding jurisdiction. The lack of specificity in Mack’s Answer warranted a finding of waiver, and the denial of Mack’s motion to reargue.

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