August 24, 2011
New York court: asbestos defendant loses on change of venue motion
In a recent opinion out of the New York County Supreme Court, Justice Sherry Klein Heitler found that a defendant in an asbestos case, Treadwell Corp., provided insufficient explanation for why it waited for almost a year before seeking a of change venue, nor did it present sufficient evidence to merit such a change.
Plaintiff, Linda A. Hussain, filed suit against numerous companies whose conduct allegedly exposed Joseph C. Lang to asbestos, resulting in his death. Mr. Lang’s alleged exposures occurred outside of New York City during his career as a bricklayer at various steel plants in upstate New York.
As a result of the upstate exposures and lack of connection to New York City, Treadwell moved for a change of venue, arguing that New York County was not the proper venue. Justice Heitler found that the doctrine of laches prevented Treadwell from prevailing on its motion. Justice Heitler said that by April 2010, Treadwell knew the decedent suffered no exposure to asbestos in any of New York’s five boroughs but that it offered no “cogent reason” for the delay in filing the motion until March 2011 in seeking a change of venue.