Shareholders Howard A. Fried and Erich J. Gleber Win New York’s First Motion for Summary Judgment on the Issue of Causation in a Strict Products Liability Matter


January 24, 2018

Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney is pleased to report that on January 24, 2018, Honorable Julianne T. Capetola, a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Nassau County, denied renewal and reargument, and affirmed her prior decision granting the motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. on the issue of causation.

In defense of American Honda, Segal McCambridge’s Shareholder Howard A. Fried and his trial team transformed the recent post-verdict decision in Juni v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., infra, dealing with the issue of injury causation, into an effective summary judgment motion to gain an efficient dismissal of the case before trial.  After American Honda and other defendants were granted a dismissal in one of the first post-Juni motions for summary judgment motions filed outside of NYCAL, plaintiffs moved to renew and reargue the Court’s dismissal decision.

After Mr. Fried and his trial team prepared and filed opposition papers to the plaintiffs’ renewal and reargument motion, Shareholder, Erich J. Gleber successfully argued in opposition.  Argument included that the defendants made a prima facie showing of their entitlement to summary judgment and shifted the burden to plaintiff to present adequate causation evidence.  

On January 24, 2018, the Court issued its decision agreeing with American Honda and the Segal McCambridge trial team.  In affirming her prior decision, Justice Capetola held that plaintiff’s causation expert failed to meet the requirements set forth in the First Department’s decision in Juni v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., 148 A.D.3d 233, 236 (1st Dep’t. 2017), which holds that a causation expert must establish that the plaintiff was exposed to sufficient levels of the toxin from a defendant’s product to have cause his disease.  Notably, Justice Capetola cited to American Honda’s opposition and our reliance on Schiraldi v. U.S. Mineral Products. Inc, 194 A.D.2d 482 (1st Dep’t 1993), for the proposition that a defendant’s initial burden on summary judgement is satisfied by demonstrating plaintiff’s absence of expert testimony to sufficiently quantify the asbestos exposure to any specific defendant’s product.

Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney stands by its position that “We make the complex simple” and congratulate Shareholders Howard A. Fried and Erich J. Gleber, and the team for making litigation simple, efficient and cost effective.  We also thank our dedicated and collaborative team: Anna Hwang; Joseph James Gianetti; Benjamin L. Careathers, and Kim Reiter, who made this win possible.

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