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Matter of New York City Asbestos Litig.

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department

 February 28, 2017, Decided ; February 28, 2017, Entered

190315/12, 2458, 2457

Opinion

 [*235]  [**367] Saxe, J.

This appeal requires us to address whether a plaintiff who seeks damages for contracting mesothelioma based on exposure to a defendant's asbestos-containing products must satisfy the standards expressed in Parker v Mobil Oil Corp. (7 NY3d 434, 857 NE2d 1114, 824 NYS2d 584 [2006]) and Cornell v 360 W. 51st St. Realty, LLC (22 NY3d 762, 986 NYS2d 389, 9 NE3d 884 [2014]) by offering evidence that, if it does not provide an exact mathematical quantification of that exposure, at least provides some "scientific expression" (Parker at 449) of the level of exposure to toxins [***5]  in defendant's products that was sufficient to have caused the disease.

Plantiff's decedent, Arthur Juni, commenced this personal injury action due to his mesothelioma allegedly caused by claimed exposure to asbestos-containing products while he worked as an auto mechanic. Juni died on March 16, 2014, after which his widow, Mary Juni, who also has a loss of consortium claim, was substituted as administratrix for Juni's estate. This appeal concerns only the trial of claims against defendant Ford Motor Company, based on Juni's exposure to asbestos over the years he worked on the brakes, clutches, and manifold gaskets of Ford vehicles, during which work, plaintiff says, asbestos dust was released.

After a trial in which a jury returned a verdict in plaintiff's favor, the trial court granted defendant Ford Motor Company's motion to set aside the verdict (48 Misc 3d 460, 11 NYS3d 416 [2015]; CPLR 4404 [a]). We affirm that determination.

As the trial court recognized, ] under CPLR 4404 (a) the court may set aside a verdict or judgment entered after trial, and direct that judgment be entered in favor of a party entitled to judgment as a matter of law, if the verdict was not supported by legally sufficient evidence, since [**368]  under those circumstances there [***6]  is "no valid line of reasoning and permissible inferences which could possibly lead rational [jurors] to the conclusion reached by the jury on the basis of the evidence presented at trial" (Cohen v Hallmark Cards, 45 NY2d 493, 499, 382 NE2d 1145, 410 NYS2d 282 [1978]).

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148 A.D.3d 233 *; 48 N.Y.S.3d 365 **; 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1505 ***; 2017 NY Slip Op 01523 ****; CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P20,014; 2017 WL 778358

 [****1]  In the Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation.Mary Juni, Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of Arthur H. Juni, Deceased, Appellant, v A.O. Smith Water Products Co. et al., Defendants, and Ford Motor Company, Respondent.

Subsequent History: Motion granted by Matter of New York City Asbestos Litig., 30 N.Y.3d 1088, 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 122, 69 N.Y.S.3d 855, 92 N.E.3d 1245 (Feb. 8, 2018)

Motion granted by Matter of New York City Asbestos Litig., 30 N.Y.3d 1088, 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 138, 69 N.Y.S.3d 855, 92 N.E.3d 1245 (Feb. 8, 2018)

Motion granted by Juni v. A.O. Smith Water Prods. Co. (N.Y. City Asbestos Litig.), 32 N.Y.3d 930, 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 2445, 84 N.Y.S.3d 74, 108 N.E.3d 1020 (Aug. 30, 2018)

Motion granted by Juni v. A.O. Smith Water Prods. Co. (N.Y. City Asbestos Litig.), 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 2594 (N.Y., Sept. 18, 2018)

Affirmed by, Certified question answered by Matter of New York City Asbestos Litig., 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 3265, 2018 NY Slip Op 8059 (N.Y., Nov. 27, 2018)

Prior History:  [***1] Appeal from (1) an order of the Supreme Court, New York County (Barbara Jaffe, J.), entered April 13, 2015, and (2) the judgment entered thereon. The order granted the motion by defendant Ford Motor Company to set aside the jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs. Judgment was entered in favor of defendant Ford Motor Company.

Matter of New York City Asbestos Litig., 48 Misc. 3d 460, 11 N.Y.S.3d 416, 2015 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1272 (Apr. 13, 2015)

CORE TERMS

asbestos, exposure, mesothelioma, brake, products, dust, causation, disease, exposed, friction, scientific, studies, mechanics, exposure to asbestos, asbestos-containing, levels, clutches, visible, trial court, chrysotile, air, toxin, asbestos fiber, asbestos exposure, gaskets, garage, cases, hazardous, linings, distributed

Civil Procedure, Trials, Judgment as Matter of Law, Judgment Notwithstanding Verdict, Environmental Law, Hazardous Wastes & Toxic Substances, Toxic Torts, Torts, Products Liability, Business & Corporate Compliance, Environmental Law, Asbestos