March 23, 2011 – New York Supreme Court Justice upholds recommendation of the Asbestos Litigation Special Master directing the immediate production of records in the possession of a pump manufacturer in mesothelioma lawsuit brought by a retired New York City Housing Authority police officer.
NEW YORK SUPREME COURT JUSTICE UPHOLDS THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE ASBESTOS LITIGATION SPECIAL MASTER DIRECTING THE IMMEDIATE PRODUCTION OF RECORDS IN THE POSSESSION OF A PUMP MANUFACTURER IN A MESOTHELIOMA LAWSUIT BROUGHT BY A RETIRED NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY POLICE OFFICER.
NEW YORK, New York, March 23, 2011 – In a decision issued today, the New York State Supreme Court Justice, Honorable Sherry Klein Heitler denied a motion for a protective order1 filed by a pump manufacturer, Aurora Pump Company (“Aurora”), who appealed from a Recommendation of the Special Master directing the immediate production of certain microfilm sales records and drawings in the defendant’s possession. Aurora is a defendant in a mesothelioma lawsuit brought by George Graham (“Plaintiff”), a former New York City Housing Authority police officer.
Mr. Graham was exposed to asbestos from the defendant’s products while these products were being maintained and repaired during his routine patrol of the basement and maintenance areas within various Housing Development buildings in Bronx, NY, over his twenty-year career.
Inspections conducted at the Housing Development buildings revealed that Aurora pumps were currently installed in the basement areas of some of the buildings where the plaintiff had worked during various years within the time period of 1973 to 1993. In an effort to establish that Aurora had previously supplied asbestos-containing pumps to these Housing Development buildings, the plaintiff’s mesothelioma lawyers sought production of Aurora’s sales records dating back to 1945.
In the relevant part, Aurora argued against the production, claiming that this discovery request of the nearly 1,000,000 microfilm images and 24,000 pumps specification drawings was overbroad and burdensome, thereby subjecting Aurora to unreasonable annoyance, expense, and prejudice. Additionally, Aurora argued that the presence of Aurora pumps currently at the Housing Developments, where the plaintiff worked, did not mean that older Aurora pumps had been previously installed and operated at these premises and were replaced by the newer pumps.
In denying Aurora’s motion for a protective order, Justice Heitler confirmed and adopted the Special Master’s Recommendation in all respects, finding the plaintiff’s attorneys’ request proper, material, necessary, and strictly adhering to the scope of the Asbestos Litigation CMO’s standard discovery provisions. The Court cited the testimony provided by Aurora’s corporate representative who essentially admitted that although this search would be time-consuming and costly, relevant information could in fact be contained in the requested microfilm images and drawings. Justice Heitler noted that the defendant’s argument against disclosure as overly burdensome was “fatally undercut by Plaintiff’s counsel’s offer during oral argument to bear the time and expense of this document review such that there is a much lesser burden imposed on the defendant than is contemplated by it.”
Mr. Graham is represented by mesothelioma attorneys at Levy Konigsberg LLP, a New York City-based law firm that has been specializing in representing victims of mesothelioma for more than twenty-five years. According to the firm, “This decision by Justice Heitler is firmly rooted in New York law, is within the wide discretion of the Court, and certainly a victory for people, such as Mr. George Graham, who valiantly performed their duties in accordance with their employment and were exposed to asbestos during the course of their work, who now seek to pierce through the attempts of corporations, such as Aurora, who continuously refrain from producing relevant materials necessary for the prosecution of asbestos actions.”
Mesothelioma is asbestos-related cancer that occurs most commonly in the pleura or peritoneum that line the lungs and abdominal cavities, respectively. The disease occurs after a “latency period” of many decades which explains why people are commonly diagnosed with mesothelioma many decades after they performed their respective duties throughout our country.
For over a quarter of a century, mesothelioma lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP have been among the pioneers of asbestos litigation in America. The firm’s attorneys have been recognized as nationwide leaders in representing the rights of mesothelioma victims and their families. Their clients have received some of the largest mesothelioma compensation verdicts in the country.
For more information about this or other mesothelioma lawsuits, please contact Levy Konigsberg LLP at (800) 315-3806 or 1-800-MESO-LAW (1-800-637-6529), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.