Upstate New York Trial Court Upholds $4 Million Jury Verdict for Mesothelioma Victim

 pleural-mesotheliomaNEW YORK, NY — A $4 million verdict in favor of a man who was exposed to asbestos while working as an internal grinder at a tool plant will stand, according to a Nov. 24 ruling by the New York Supreme Court for Oneida County, the law firm of Belluck & Fox, LLP announced today.

Attorneys from Belluck & Fox, LLP represented the plaintiffs in the case, which focused on liability for Nicholas Dominick’s exposure to asbestos that caused him to develop mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

“Our client suffered greatly because of the presence of asbestos fibers in his workplace,” said Brittany Russell, the New York mesothelioma attorney who represented the plaintiff. “We are pleased for our client that the judge in this case properly upheld the jury’s verdict and substantial award of damages.”

Dominick worked as an internal grinder at the Chicago Pneumatic tool manufacturing plant from 1968 to 1973. During the course of his work there, Dominick was exposed to bags of asbestos and asbestos board supplied by Charles Millar Supply Co. The defendant, Pacemaker Steel & Piping Co., is Charles Millar’s successor in interest.

The jury in the case found Pacemaker 30 percent liable for the injuries Dominick suffered when he developed mesothelioma decades later due to his asbestos exposure at work. Jurors awarded the plaintiff $4 million.

Pacemaker asked the trial court to set aside the jury’s verdict or order a new trial on all issues. The trial court rejected that motion in its Nov. 24 order. The case is Dominick, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. CA2014-000232 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., Oneida Cty.).

The court rejected Pacemaker’s argument that it should have been allowed to call eight co-worker witnesses, finding that testimony from all eight would have been cumulative. The court also rejected Pacemaker’s arguments regarding causation, ruling that testimony from the plaintiff’s expert witness “afforded a rational basis for the jury’s verdict.”

The court also upheld the jury’s allocation of fault and award of damages. “There was significant evidence in the record as to Plaintiff’s past and future pain and suffering due to his mesothelioma,” the court said.

Brittany Russell, the New York City asbestos exposure attorney who represented the plaintiff, said the decision serves as reminder of the importance of legal assistance in mesothelioma cases. “The outcome of this case emphasizes how critical it is for victims of mesothelioma and other diseases caused by asbestos exposure to seek well qualified legal counsel to pursue a claim against the responsible parties,” he said.

Larry Bodine

Attorney Larry Bodine is Editor of Mass Tort Nexus, and the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers. He is the former Editor in Chief of and the American Bar Association Journal. He is a cum laude graduate of both Seton Hall University Law School and Amherst College.

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