Asbestos Company Loses Argument Against Punitive Damages in Mesothelioma Case

Released November 28, 2022

Mesothelioma victims are entitled to file lawsuits seeking both economic damages for their actual financial losses and punitive damages punishing asbestos companies for their reckless disregard for human welfare. In a recent case, a New York judge ordered an asbestos company to honor a victim’s request for testimony after the company repeatedly attempted to evade questioning.

boiler repair

New York Special Master Ordered Punitive Damages in Mesothelioma Case

The lawsuit was filed by mesothelioma victim Ernest Masetro against several asbestos companies. Mr. Masetro had worked for three decades as a boiler maintenance and repair mechanic and among the companies he named was the boiler manufacturer Burnham Corporation.

When the mesothelioma victim’s legal team asked Burnham’s representatives standard questions as part of their process to assess the company’s potential liability for punitive damages, they found the company’s responses inadequate. The Special Master who heard the case agreed and ordered the company to appear for testimony. The company appealed this decision for procedural reasons.

Asbestos company named in mesothelioma claim appeals Special Master’s decision

To avoid being held responsible for punitive damages in the mesothelioma lawsuit, Burnham appealed the Special Master’s decision. They argued that under New York law, punitive damages should not be determined until a court has determined that the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The New York Supreme Court found that the asbestos company misconstrued the law.

In reviewing the case, the court found that New York had created special allowances for mesothelioma victims in recognition of the “extraordinary needs of asbestos cases and litigants.” As a result, the procedural rules used in other cases do not apply and the deposit of punitive damages was properly ordered by the Special Master. The company must appear for the survey.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it’s important that you work with people who have a deep understanding of the law. For information on how patient representatives can help you, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

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Written by Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the main author of our news blog She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes knowledge is power, and she is committed to sharing news about the effects of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and the stories of victims.

Find out more about and contact Terri