July 24, 2019

New York State Appellate Division issues remittitur decisions in asbestos cases

On June 18 and 25, 2019 the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court (First Department) issued two decisions relating to the valuation of pain and suffering damages in mesothelioma cases. In Mary Murphy-Claggett, et al. v. A.O. Smith Corporation, et al., the plaintiff had been awarded $63,000,000 by a trial jury in connection with the death of 55 year-old Pietro Macaluso – $25,000,000 of the award was for past pain and suffering and the balance was for loss of guidance to his daughter and son. Post-trial motions resulted in a reduction of these numbers to $10,000,000 and $19,000,000, respectively. On appeal, the Appellate Division reduced these numbers even further, to $4,000,000 for past pain and suffering and $2,000,000 for loss of guidance. In Ford v. A.O. Smith Water Products, the 86 year-old plaintiff had been awarded, following a decision on post-trial motions, $5,000,000 for 17 months of past pain and suffering and $2,000,000 for one month of future pain and suffering. On appeal, the award for past pain and suffering was sustained but the award for future pain and suffering was reduced to $500,000. These two cases appear to be in line with recent decisions from the court in deceased mesothelioma cases, in which the remitted values have generally been between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000. To read these decisions, please download the PDF below.