Barry McTiernan & Moore successfully argued a Partial Summary Judgment Motion on Plaintiff’s Claim for Punitive Damages on behalf of our client in asbestos litigation in New York. Our client was among numerous defendants to argue for Partial Summary Judgment Motion but they were the only successful defendant.
Plaintiffs commenced this action on July 6, 2017 alleging principally causes of action sounding in negligence and products liability. Plaintiffs alleged asbestos exposure from our client’s product. On June 27, 2019, Plaintiffs notified defendants that they were pursuing punitive damages claim on all defendants. The matter was scheduled for trial on July 30, 2019. Suzanne M. Halbardier argued that Plaintiff’s delayed notification was prejudicial and violated our client’s due process rights. She additionally argued that our client was not provided proper notice or given the opportunity to meet and confer with Plaintiffs or conduct discovery on punitive damages as required under Case Management Order IX.M (CMO). Although Plaintiffs argued that our client was given notice of the claim for punitive damages through the pleadings, Ms. Halbardier protected our client by addressing the punitive damages claim on February 21, 2019 on the Trial Readiness Conference Form and again at the Trial Readiness Conference. In response, Plaintiffs asserted that they did not believe it was a trial readiness issue and they would comply with all obligations under the CMO. As such, Ms. Halbardier argued that Plaintiffs’ delay in notifying our client of their intent to proceed with punitive damages until June 27, 2019 was a violation of the CMO and warranted summary judgment on the punitive damages claim.
The Court held that Plaintiffs were unable to provide any arguments or evidence to refute our proof that they were on notice since February 2019 of our client’s intent to obtain discovery and pursue summary judgment on punitive damages. The Court further stated that Plaintiff’s delay and failure to contact us until June 27, 2019 resulted in an unfair advantage and a violation of our client’s due process. Our success was dependent on our objections at the Trial Readiness Conference stage.