Court: Supreme Court of New York, New York County
In this asbestos action, decedent Giacinto Pira alleged he was exposed to asbestos from gloves manufactured by defendant Steel Grip.
Steel Grip moved for summary judgment, arguing that plaintiff did not establish exposure to asbestos or causation from Steel Grip gloves. In support, Steel Grip proffered an expert report opining that the levels of asbestos released from their gloves would not be sufficient to cause mesothelioma. Plaintiff opposed Steel Grip’s motion, citing plaintiff’s testimony identifying Steel Grip gloves in his work, as well as an expert report opining as to the “potentially dangerous” levels of asbestos exposure from gloves.
With regard to the motion for summary judgment, 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.”
Here, the court found that Pira clearly identified Steel Grip’s product. In addition, Steel Grip “failed to proffer any evidence to suggest that the gloves found on the ship Mr. Pira worked on could not have been manufactured by them, or that such gloves did not contain asbestos.” Further, the court cited the conflicting evidence submitted by the parties regarding the amount of asbestos exposure from the gloves. Thus, the court denied the motion.
Read the full decision here.