Court of Appeals Court

PPE Manufacturer’s Motion to Dismiss on Personal Jurisdiction Grounds Denied

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Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department, November 2, 2022

In this asbestos action, Steel Grip Inc., a personal protective equipment manufacturer, was sued along with other defendants for decedent Giacinto Pira’s alleged asbestos exposure, which allegedly contributed to his mesothelioma diagnosis.  

At his discovery deposition, Pira testified that his employer purchased asbestos-containing safety gloves from SGI in New York, and that he used these gloves for welding on his jobsite.

SGI moved to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction, and in support of same, offered an affidavit of an SGI officer who attested that SGI’s principal place of business was in Illinois, and that SGI never manufactured products in New York, nor did SGI ever have an office or own property in New York.

In response, the plaintiff argued that Pira’s testimony regarding his employer’s purchase of the gloves from SGI in New York raised an issue of fact as to the existence of purposeful business transactions in New York necessary to establish personal jurisdiction under CPLR 302(a)(1). SGI’s motion was denied by the lower court, and affirmed by the First Department, which noted the SGI officer’s affidavit failed to address whether SGI sold its gloves to Pira’s employer in New York. For this reason, the court held that the plaintiff had demonstrated the existence of facts supporting the exercise of personal jurisdiction over SGI, and upheld the lower court’s denial of SGI’s motion to dismiss. 

Read the full decision here.