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New Asbestos Court Rules May Draw Challenges From Defense, Plaintiff Bars

By Andrew Denney, New York Law Journal

The new Case Management Order (“CMO”) for New York City Asbestos Litigation (“NYCAL”) forces the Defense and Plaintiffs bars to formulate new strategies to optimize their clients’ prospects in asbestos cases.

The new CMO which became effective July 20, 2017, was drafted by Justice Peter Moulton the most recent former NYCAL chief administrative judge. Among other things, the new CMO has preserved the 2014 decision by Justice Moulton’s predecessor permitting plaintiffs to seek punitive damages in the NYCAL.

The Plaintiffs bar obviously embraces portions of the new CMO permitting plaintiffs to seek punitive damages. They are not happy with the new CMO limits to joinder of two cases per trial in most cases. The Defense bar, takes the opposite view of the prudence of these changes incorporated in the new CMO.

The new CMO followed a year of discussion among the attorneys of the principal law firms involved in the defense and prosecution of NYCAL cases. Our firm’s founding partner, Robert Malaby, formulated many of the key strategic positions used in the defense group’s recommendations to Justice Moulton.

The foregoing and other changes to the CMO illustrate that the NYCAL is not a static litigation environment. Going forward in the NYCAL, the defense bar will need to remain vigilant and active to challenge the plaintiff’s bar’s seemingly tireless attempts to overreach.

Mr. Malaby’s involvement in the NYCAL from its earliest years provides him unique insight into its nuances. His history of defending asbestos and other toxic tort claims demonstrate an area of unquestionable litigation defense capability. Mr. Malaby and his colleagues are also involved in many additional litigation practice areas.

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