Judge Rejects Boiler Company’s Motion to Dismiss, Denies Request for Sanctions Against Victim’s Attorneys

It has been decades since asbestos’ role in malignant mesothelioma became public knowledge, but companies whose products contained the carcinogenic material had been aware of its dangers long before that. Their decision not to warn of its hazards or halt its use was based on profit, and so are the maneuvers they attempt to avoid legal liability for the harm their products caused.

Judge

Boiler Company Accused of Pursuing Multiple Sales to Defeat Claims of Mesothelioma Liability

In a case recently decided in New York’s courts, a boiler company argued they couldn’t be held responsible for a man’s mesothelioma because liability had not transferred to them following an extensive series of sales of the original company. They asked for the case to be dismissed, and also asked for sanctions against the victim’s attorneys, accusing them of frivolous legal conduct.

Victim Argues that Mesothelioma Liability Followed Acquisitions

The mesothelioma victim’s claim asserted that PB Heat was responsible for having exposed him to asbestos. They argued that the company’s argument against liability because of subsequent sales and mergers was wrong. The victim presented the full history of acquisitions that took place over several years, arguing that asbestos-related liability had transferred with the sales.

 In defending itself, PB Heat argued that they were protected by New York law against claims for wrongdoing by their predecessor companies and that the victim had not provided adequate proof to support his claim. Justice Adam Silvera of the Supreme Court of New York reviewed both sides’ arguments, as well as the company’s request for sanctions against the victim’s attorney. He denied all of the boiler company’s arguments.

Judge’s Decision in Mesothelioma Claim Explains Rules of Successor Liability

In denying the boiler company’s request to have the case against it dismissed, the judge said that while New York law absolves successor companies of liability for their predecessors’ negligence, there are four notable exceptions that apply to this case. Those exceptions are:

  • When a corporation expressly or impliedly assumes the predecessor’s tort liability
  • When there is a consolidation or merger of seller and buyer
  • When the purchasing corporation was a mere continuation of the selling corporation
  • When the transaction is entered into fraudulently to escape tort liabilities

The judge then pointed out that the company’s internal documents did not allow them to escape these exceptions, leaving issues of fact for a jury to decide.

The judge also denied the company’s request for sanctions against the mesothelioma victim’s attorneys, noting that the lawyers’ conduct could not be considered frivolous because rather than having been filed to harass, the case had merit in law.

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger

Writer

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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