New York Judge Rejects Boiler Company’s Argument Against Mesothelioma Liability

Most claims filed by mesothelioma victims come down to a basic accusation: That the named asbestos company put profits over concerns about the people who would be using their products. In two separate suits filed against the same company, a New York judge pointed to that disregard for potential victims as a reason not to dismiss punitive damages claims.

judge decision

Punitive Damages Claims in Mesothelioma Lawsuits Are Meant to Punish

Mesothelioma claims generally seek compensation for monetary damages including medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But victims can also seek punitive damages meant to punish a company for egregious behavior. Justice Adam Silvera of the Supreme Court of New York County recently weighed in on two cases against boiler company Burnham LLC in which both victims were seeking punitive damages. The company had asked the court to dismiss that portion of both claims.

The lawsuits had been filed by the survivors of Joseph M. DeRoy and Anthony Giuliano, both mesothelioma victims who had worked with Burnham LLC boilers. With both families including punitive damages in their claims, the company filed a petition for partial summary judgment, arguing that their actions had not been careless or shown reckless disregard.

Company Justification of Petition in Mesothelioma Lawsuit Fails

Burnham’s attorneys argued that punitive damages in the mesothelioma claims were inappropriate. They justified their argument on two key points: that the asbestos exposure the men would have experienced from their boilers would have been below limits set by OSHA and that none of their employees had filed workers’ compensation claims against them.

In rejecting the company’s petition, Justice Silvera called their arguments “wholly irrelevant” to the question at hand. He concluded that “a reasonable juror could find that defendant Burnham’s knowledge and use of asbestos in their boilers constituted a prioritization of their corporate benefits over plaintiff’s safety, issues of fact exist to preclude summary judgment on punitive damages.”

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger


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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