A New York Supreme Court judge recently handed down a significant ruling in an asbestos cancer lawsuit in favor of a man who claims his former employer caused his terminal cancer by using materials contaminated with deadly carcinogens. The case involved a now deceased victim who claimed that during his time as a roofer, he frequently used products manufactured with asbestos by CertainTeed Corporation and that this was the source of his exposure to the carcinogen which caused his ultimately fatal condition.
CertainTeed Corporation attempted to avoid liability for manufacturing the asbestos-contaminated roofing and construction materials by filing a motion for summary judgement to have the case thrown out of court. The company claimed that they had ceased manufacturing products with asbestos during the victim’s stated dates of employment in which he claimed to have used the asbestos-containing materials.
However, the New York City Supreme Court judge hearing the case noted that CertainTeed could not meet the legal standard to have the case dismissed on such grounds at it could not definitively prove that the plaintiff had not come in contact with asbestos-containing materials that had already been manufactured. In fact, the plaintiff had testified that during projects which lasted significant amounts of time, he used construction materials manufactured by CertainTeed years prior, including over 100 cans of roofing coating known to contain asbestos.
The judge ruled that CertainTeed could not unequivocally prove its roofing materials did not contain asbestos, thus allowing the case to proceed to trial. The case is another example of the length many defendants will go to in order to avoid compensating victims for the harm suffered as a result of being exposed to asbestos-containing products. Even in mesothelioma lawsuits against companies known to produce asbestos-contaminated products, defendants will use every available legal maneuver they can to skirt liability.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications for its heat-resistant properties and ability to be molded into a variety of shapes and forms. Unfortunately, many workers who came in contact with asbestos had no idea they were doing so or had knowledge that the substance is extremely carcinogenic and responsible for the development of serious health conditions, the most serious of which is mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer directly linked to asbestos exposure. Despite knowing about the risks of asbestos exposure for decades, many companies continued to produce products with asbestos without providing any warnings to consumers or workers.
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