$11 Million Asbestos Verdict Stays Dismissed: NY High Court

  • Asbestos Medical Record Review & Outsourcing Services

On November 27, 2018, the New York Court of Appeals upheld an intermediate appellate court's order to toss an $11 million asbestos verdict. The court released a one-paragraph memorandum affirming the trial court’s decision based on the evidence presented during the trial. The order stated, ''viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to establish that respondent Ford Motor Company's conduct was a proximate cause of the decedent's injuries pursuant to the standards set forth in Parker v Mobil Oil Corp. and Cornell v 360 W. 51st St. Realty, LLC.''

The case was filed by decedent Arthur Juni Jr. and his wife Mary J., in 2012, against Ford Motor Co., claiming Arthur's mesothelioma was caused due to exposure to asbestos during his term of over 25 years when he worked as an auto mechanic servicing Ford Motor Company (Ford) vehicles. The litigation is represented by Mary as the plaintiff after Arthur died in March 2014. The same year, Ford was ordered to pay $11 million after being held responsible for 49 percent of that liability by the jury. In 2015, the judgment was tossed because of lack of evidence and upheld by the New York appeals court on February 28, 2017.

Associate Judge Rowan Wilson in a separate opinion stated, ''Juni’s attorneys had not rebutted an argument from Ford during the trial that the products he handled may not have been as dangerous as experts testified, and a necessary link in the proof of proximate cause was missing.'' Wilson further wrote, “I do not suggest that Ford is correct as a scientific matter; that question remains for the trier of fact in each case. Here, in my view, there was simply a gap in proof as to the toxicity of the products at issue.”

The only dissent was written by Associate Judge Jenny Rivera who stated that there was no basis to conclude that the verdict was utterly irrational with respect to the compelling evidence of Mr. Juni’s exposure to asbestos while working at Ford.

Thousands of lawsuits also blame talcum manufacturers for hiding asbestos presence in their products linked to the alleged diagnoses of ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

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