A leader in the arena of asbestos litigation from the very beginning.

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Decades of Asbestos Litigation Experience

As one of the leading defense firms in asbestos litigation in New York State, Phillips Lytle has been involved in this specialty litigation for more than 40 years. With the volume of cases that have come through the doors of Phillips Lytle for a multitude of different types of clients, it goes without saying that we are well versed and well equipped to handle all aspects of asbestos defense litigation.

The firm’s first involvement in asbestos litigation came in the late 1970s through representation of GAF Corporation (“GAF”). In the course of representing GAF, our attorneys took the lead in arguing Steinhardt v. Johns-Manville Corp., 54 N.Y.2d 1008, 446 N.Y.S.2d 244 (1981), cert. denied and appeal dismissed, 456 U.S. 967 (1982), in which the New York Court of Appeals applied the last date of exposure rule for application of the statute of limitations in New York to asbestos exposure claims. We also were lead counsel in seeking the dismissal of the appeal of that decision to the United States Supreme Court.

As a leader in the arena of asbestos litigation from the very beginning, we have successfully handled thousands of asbestos exposure cases throughout New York State and have developed effective strategies—from early resolution to successful trial and appeal—to meet the particular objectives of our various and longstanding clients.

A Strategic Approach to Asbestos Litigation

Our long history of handling a high volume and wide variety of asbestos claims has allowed us to gain the expertise and insight to develop and implement proactive defense strategies. We understand the constantly evolving theories, trends and strategies being utilized by plaintiffs, and we tailor the defense of each lawsuit to meet our clients’ individual objectives and circumstances. Whether obtaining voluntary dismissals or resolution through motion practice, identifying other opportunities for early resolution, negotiating favorable settlements, or proceeding to trial and handling post-trial motions and appeals, we pragmatically and cost-effectively achieve our clients’ goals.

Experienced Asbestos Attorneys

Our asbestos litigation team is comprised of a mix of attorneys with years of experience representing clients facing asbestos lawsuits. The Phillips Lytle Asbestos Team is well versed in the many issues unique to asbestos, litigation, regulations, procedures and other related matters that affect our clients. This team is geographically located across New York State for ease in access and greater efficiencies.


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Asbestos Litigation Representation

The types of defendants we have represented in asbestos exposure cases are numerous and varied, including product manufacturers, product suppliers and distributors, installers, contractors and premises owners. Additionally, we have advised clients on issues regarding insurance coverage for claims due to exposure to asbestos. Our Asbestos Team has assisted and guided other Phillips Lytle clients in different practice areas who find themselves sued in asbestos litigation across the country, even serving in an overall asbestos litigation coordinating counsel role to ensure that the client’s interests are being fully protected.

In asbestos-related disease matter, Phillips Lytle’s clients have included manufacturers of insulation, refractories, gaskets, boilers, pumps, resins, annealing equipment, plumbing supplies, ships, construction materials, building materials, caulk, friction products, dental compound materials, drilling mud additives, logging equipment, radio equipment, paints, sterilizing equipment, coke ovens and dryer felts. Other clients include suppliers, distributors of asbestos-containing products, construction companies and premises owners.

Additionally, we have represented manufacturers of industrial talc and cosmetic talc products in cases alleging exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc, and we have represented manufacturers of coke ovens’ coal tar pitch materials in “dual emissions/dual exposure cases” commenced in the Courts’ Asbestos Litigation Parts.

The following are additional asbestos representation matters:
  • Represented a co-defendant manufacturer in the joint Federal District Court/Federal Bankruptcy Court proceedings to revise the Manville Trust. District Court issued an opinion substantially revising the Trust, which was appealed to Second Circuit. Second Circuit ultimately modified the decision of the District Court. After that decision, negotiations led to a settlement which resulted in a new Manville Trust.
  • Represented a co-defendant supplier in Eagle-Picher class action proceedings that were commenced to avoid bankruptcy. The class action did not succeed and Eagle-Picher filed for bankruptcy.
  • Represented four plant owners who were served with subpoenas seeking documents relating to purchase of asbestos-containing materials and equipment on which asbestos was used. We reviewed documents and determined which documents were within the scope of the subpoenas.
  • Represented a plant owner in resisting subpoenas for documents and for trial witnesses. This has included preparing and serving motions to quash the subpoenas.
  • Identified and developed experts for client/defendant’s product. The process included interviewing potential experts. Once the expert was retained, we spent a number of days working with the expert to prepare direct testimony and to rehearse cross-examination.
  • Represented several defendants at the examination of three different plaintiffs’ state-of-the-art experts. On each occasion, we developed cross-examination of the expert to protect our clients’ interests.
  • Worked with National Counsel to prepare company witness for deposition in pending asbestos disease cases. This included a three day preparation session—during which we cross-examined the company witness.
  • Made a presentation to New York judges, plaintiffs’ and defense counsel on amendments to Medicare regulations and its application to the settlement of cases.
  • We assisted National Counsel in reviewing documents in a plant that had been closed and was scheduled for demolition, assisting National Counsel and the client in identifying all documents potentially relevant to the asbestos disease litigation.
  • We have served as case-specific liaison counsel in countless matters interacting with the Courts and with plaintiffs’ counsel on behalf of all defendants in the case on issues involving pleadings, discovery and trial settings.

Our Asbestos attorneys have served as case-specific defense liaison counsel and as members of defense counsel advisory committees, dealing directly with the judges and other court personnel, as well as with the plaintiffs’ and defense bars on more global issues impacting upon the asbestos litigation in New York.

Meet Our Asbestos Team

Thomas K. Caraher Associate
Rosario Chetta Special Counsel
Nicholas P. Fedorka Associate
Marc H. Goldberg Special Counsel
Kevin M. Hogan Partner
Eric M. Kraus Partner
Craig A. Leslie Partner, Governing Committee
Lisa L. Smith Partner
Meet the Team

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