Alvin Smith was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma after a long career as an electrician. Before he died of the disease, he provided testimony in support of a lawsuit against National Grid, the company that succeeded the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) that had supervised his work at the Northport Power Plant. Though LILCO filed a motion to have the case against them dismissed, Justice Adam Silvera of the Supreme Court of New York County denied their request, determining that the company had a responsibility to oversee and control the work that Smith had performed.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Rests on Question of Liability for Subcontractor
Mr. Smith’s mesothelioma is blamed on the “ultra-hazardous asbestos dust” that he was exposed to between 1961 and 1994, when he worked as an electrician. Between March of 1967 and June of 1968, he worked as a subcontractor for Rao Electrical Equipment and Arc Electric, working on and cleaning pump motors at the Northport Power Plant. His family’s suit seeks compensation from LILCO, the company that supervised his work.
National Grid responded to being named in the mesothelioma lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss the charges. They argued that they did not supervise or control Smith’s work and therefore owed him no duty. The company supported their argument by saying that Smith had taken direction from his area foreman, who worked for Rao/Arc. They also pointed to Smith’s testimony that LILCO personnel had been present but had not instructed him on how to perform his work to support their denial of responsibility.
Mesothelioma Victim Submits Testimony of Former Employee to Support His Claim
In response to LILCO’s argument, Mr. Smith’s family submitted testimony from a former LILCO employee who testified that LILCO employees were responsible for overseeing work performed by independent contractors at Northport. Justice Silvera reviewed both arguments and denied the company’s motion to dismiss, writing, “LILCO had a responsibility to oversee and control the work performed by Decedent, which created a duty to provide a safe workplace for Decedent. Plaintiff has raised issues of fact concerning LILCO’s exercise of control over Decedent’s work sufficient to deny defendant’s motion for summary judgment.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you need help and support. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can offer you the resources you need. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.