Court Rejects Ford’s Motion to Dismiss Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Joseph Skrzynski blames his malignant mesothelioma on the years he spent working for Towne Lincoln Ford Mercury. The 65-year-old and his wife filed a personal injury lawsuit against Ford Motor Company in which he describes sweeping up asbestos dust after mechanics had replaced or repaired asbestos-contaminated brakes, and opening boxes filled with asbestos-contaminated Ford brakes and clutches. Though Ford offered various reasons for the case against them to be dismissed, the judges of the Supreme Court of New York in Erie County denied their motion for summary judgment. They also allowed the couple’s punitive damages claim against the auto giant to stand.

brake repair

Ford Mounts Multiple Arguments Against Liability for Man’s Mesothelioma

In its petition to have the mesothelioma lawsuit dismissed, Ford argued that there was no evidence that the asbestos in their parts led to Mr. Skrzynski’s illness. They also wanted his expert witness’ opinions excluded and that they had not considered Ford’s assertion that therapeutic radiation he’d received earlier in his life might have played a role.

The judges dismissed each of these arguments, noting that Ford’s own exhibits had shown that their brakes and clutches contained amphibole asbestos. They said that the company’s assertions about disagreements between expert witnesses actually supported the case being heard by a jury.

Punitive Damages Decision Can’t Be Decided Until Mesothelioma Liability is Established

Regarding the mesothelioma victim’s claim for punitive damages and Ford’s request to have it dismissed, the judges noted that “the threshold for establishing punitive damages in New York is demanding, requiring the plaintiff to demonstrate that the defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wantonly negligent as to be the equivalent of a conscious disregard of the rights of others and that the conduct demonstrates a high degree of moral culpability.”

The court determined that it was not possible at the summary judgment stage to waive the mesothelioma victim’s claim for punitive damages, and that whether a particular award should be allowed could not be decided until after a jury had heard all of the details and resolved the question of guilt.

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger

Reviewer and Editor

Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.

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