A New York state court recently issued an important ruling in an asbestos cancer lawsuit preventing one of the defendants from attempting to have itself removed from the case and potentially escape liability for its role in the victim’s cancer diagnosis. With the court’s ruling, defendant retailer Lot Less will remain as a defendant to the case while the plaintiff proceeds with the information gathering phase of the litigation in order to establish exactly what the business knew about the safety of the products it sold to consumers like the victim in this case.
According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of New York County in 2018, the now deceased plaintiff developed malignant mesothelioma cancer from years of using Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, which was contaminated with deadly asbestos fibers. The plaintiff contends that not only Johnson & Johnson should be held liable for manufacturing the carcinogenic talc-based product, but also retailer Lot Less for selling the product to consumers like the victim. Other defendants named in the case included Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Cyprus Amax Minerals Company, and Whittaker Clark & Daniels.
In its motion for summary judgment, Lot Less argued that the family of the victim, who brought the suit on her behalf, had not yet proven that the Johnson & Johnson product in question actually contained asbestos. Further, the company argued that sellers of defective products generally have an implied right to indemnification, that is that they cannot be held liable for legally selling a product that a manufacturer produced. Fortunately for the plaintiff, the judge hearing the case determined that it would be premature to remove Lot Less from the case since the underlying liability had not yet been established.