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Gasket Manufacturer Denied Summary Judgment in NYCAL

Court: Supreme Court of New York, New York County

In this asbestos action, defendant Goodyear moved for summary judgment, arguing that asbestos exposure from its sheet gaskets could not have caused plaintiff Robert Waldon’s lung cancer. In support, Goodyear submitted the expert reports of CIH John Spencer and Dr. Robert Sussman. In opposition, plaintiff submitted its own expert reports from CIH Kenneth Garza and Dr. Mark Ginsburg.

Ultimately, the court denied the motion. The court first noted that “summary judgment is a drastic remedy and should only be granted if the moving party has sufficiently established that it is warranted as a matter of law.” Further, “summary judgment is rarely granted in negligence actions unless there is no conflict at all in the evidence.”

Thereafter, the court explained that Dyer v. Amchem is the appropriate standard for summary judgment in New York. In Dyer, the defendants met their burden “by affirmatively prov[ing], as a matter of law, that there was no causation.” While the defendant in Dyer proffered a product-specific simulation study, “Goodyear’s reliance on the affidavit of John Spencer is insufficient to dispel any questions of fact regarding Mr. Waldon’s exposure to asbestos from Goodyear gasket material.” Further, Goodyear’s medical expert opinion did “not provide an estimate of Mr. Waldon’s exposure to Goodyear products as required by Dyer.” In contrast, Plaintiff’s medical expert set forth an opinion as to the “amount of asbestos releasable from non-friable products.” Therefore, the court found that Goodyear did not meet its burden on summary judgment. The court also found that a reasonable juror could determine that asbestos exposure from the defendant’s products was a cause of his lung cancer. Thus, the court denied the motion.

Read the full decision here.