Goodyear Must Face Jury In Face of Carpenter’s Mesothelioma Death

Before being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, Peter Komiak worked as a carpenter and a flooring installer, as well as a home renovation professional. The New York man’s career started in 1960, when he worked part-time for a carpeting retailer in Hempstead, Long Island while still in high school. Over the next thirty years he worked with numerous versions of Goodyear’s vinyl asbestos floor tiles, breathing in dust as he swept floors, emptied the trash, and cut carpet and padding. When he was diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease in September of 2017 he filed a mesothelioma lawsuit but died a year and a day after his diagnosis. Despite his loss, his claim is continuing, and New York Asbestos Court judge Manuel J. Mendez recently ruled that despite its objections Goodyear must face a jury in the case.

Despite its own records, Goodyear claims their tile contained no asbestos

Mr. Komiak gave a detailed deposition before his mesothelioma death, and the lawsuit provided supporting evidence showing that the company’s tile was contaminated with asbestos, yet despite this Goodyear filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that its product did not contain asbestos. Their motion was based on an affidavit provided by a corporate representative, Mr. Joseph A. Kemmerling.

Mr. Kemmerling worked for Goodyear from 1968 through 1979, and testified that Mr. Komiak could not have gotten mesothelioma from their product because for the period of his employment the company’s tiles did not contain any asbestos. He also claimed that prior to his employment the company did not sell vinyl asbestos tile.

Mesothelioma victim’s assertions supported by engineer’s testimony

In response to Mr. Kemmerling’s claims, the mesothelioma victim’s legal team pointed to testimony provided by a Goodyear floor tile development engineer that had been provided in a different lawsuit. That man had testified that the company’s tile contained asbestos between 1954 and 1975, and that special orders after that date also contained asbestos.  Other similar testimony from Goodyear employees contradicting Mr. Kemmerling was also brought into evidence.

In reviewing this and other testimony, Judge Manuel J. Mendez denied Goodyear’s motion, pointing out that there was substantial evidence to be considered by a jury. Mr. Komiak’s family will be able to continue seeking justice on his behalf.

There were so many commonly-used products contaminated with asbestos in the twentieth century that it is remarkable that more people haven’t been sickened with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with this rare and fatal disease, we can help you get the resources you need to move forward. Contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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