The U.S. Chamber, joined by the Business Council of New York State and other business groups, urged the New York Court of Appeals to vacate an order that consolidated for trial two dramatically different asbestos-related personal injury suits involving different worksites, different occupations, different asbestos-containing products, different types and durations of asbestos exposure, different asbestos-related diseases, different plaintiff health statuses, different legal liability theories, and even different defendants, counsel, and witnesses.
The coalition amicus brief explained that although New York courts routinely consolidate unrelated asbestos cases for trial purposes, the clear, national trend is to limit the consolidation of unrelated asbestos cases. The brief argued that the experience of courts in places such as Ohio, Michigan, and Texas proves that individualized asbestos trials need not result in clogged trial courts. The brief also argued that consolidations of unrelated asbestos cases are highly prejudicial to defendants and raise due process concerns.
Victor E. Schwartz and Mark A. Behrens of Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. served as co-counsel for the coalition.