New York Appeals Court Affirms Asbestos Verdict but Reduces Compensation

On August 6th, 2020, a New York appeals court affirmed a verdict in an asbestos case. However, in doing so, it reduced the total awarded compensation from approximately $17 million to $6 million. In the Matter of New York City Asbestos Litig. v Air & Liquid Sys. Corp.,the New York appeals court determined that the plaintiff’s mesothelioma was likely caused by dangerous levels of asbestos related to the defendant’s business operations. Here, our mesothelioma attorneys provide an overview of the New York court’s decision.

Case Analysis: Matter of New York City Asbestos Litig. V Air & Liquid Sys. Corp.

The Background

The co-plaintiffs in this asbestos case were a husband and wife who brought a mesothelioma claim against the Federal Mogul Asbestos Trust. Formed in 1899, Federal Mogul was once one of the country’s largest automotive suppliers. Unfortunately, multiple companies owned and controlled by the conglomerate exposed workers to dangerous levels of asbestos.

In 2001, the company filed for bankruptcy protection and a mesothelioma trust fund was established to deal with pending and future asbestos claims. Notably, the husband in this case was employed at a Federal Mogul company. The wife filed her claim on the grounds that she was exposed to asbestos because toxic dust was routinely (and unavoidably) brought home on her husband’s person and clothing.

Liability Affirmed

Legal representatives for the Federal-Mogul Asbestos Trust Fund attempted to deny liability for her claim on the grounds of lack of causation. More specifically, they argued that the evidence was insufficient to link her condition (mesothelioma) to the company’s actions. Neither the trial court nor the appeals court was convinced by the argument. Based on expert testimony, the New York appeals court assessed that the degraded asbestos dust brought home from her husband’s place of work was sufficiently likely to be the cause of her illness. Liability was affirmed on these grounds.

Reduction in Damages

At trial, the jury awarded the victim $12 million in damages for past pain and suffering, $4 million for future pain and suffering, and an additional $1.25 million for loss of consortium. Citing New York state case law, the appeals court determined that such an award would substantially deviate from what would be considered reasonable under the circumstances. The court reduces damage to $5.5 million for pain and suffering and $650,000 for loss of consortium. The matter has been remanded for further proceedings unless the plaintiffs agreed to accept the reduced award.

Call Our Asbestos Exposure Attorneys for Help

At Richmond Vona, LLC, our mesothelioma attorneys have the unique skills, experience, and expertise to handle asbestos litigation. We are aggressive advocates for the rights and interests of our clients. If you or your loved one developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, we are more than ready to help. For a free initial consultation, please contact our law office today. We represent victims throughout all of Western New York.