Defendants Fail to Make Prima Facie Entitlement to Summary Judgment Since They Failed to Show Their Products Could Not Have Contributed to Decedent’s illness or Death

In this case, the decedent alleged exposure to asbestos while working at Republic Steel from the early 1960s through the early 1970s. It is claimed he was exposed to insulation materials that were removed and installed in his vicinity while he was a laborer and to materials used to make “hot tops” while a crane operator. Defendants Insulation Distributors, Inc. (IDI), Beazer East, and Ferro Corporation all moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove that the decedent, who died prior to testifying, was exposed to their asbestos-containing products. In opposition, the plaintiff relied in part on deposition testimony of the decedent’s co-workers.

The court denied the motion and stated that the defendants did not make a prima facie showing that their products could not have contributed to the decedent’s illness or death. The court further held that even if the defendants had met their burden, the plaintiff raised triable issues of fact. As the court held: “Plaintiff is not required to show the precise causes of the injury to decedent, but is only required to show the facts and conditions from which defendant’s liability can be reasonably inferred. See Matter of 8th Judicial District Asbestos Litigation, Reynolds, 32 Ad3d 1268.  Any inconsistencies in the testimony or issues of credibility are to be resolved by the trier of fact, not the court.”

Read the full decision here.