The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York has reversed an earlier decision by the Supreme Court of Nassau County, giving new hope to a woman diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. Victoria Pistone and her husband Peter had filed suit against American Biltrite, Inc. and Mannington Mills, Inc., both companies her father had worked for during her childhood. Though the Supreme Court said there was insufficient proof that the asbestos in her father’s workplace had caused her illness, the appellate court overruled that decision, saying that the victim’s attorneys had presented sufficiently supported studies and medical literature to raise a question for a jury to decide.
Childhood Exposure to Asbestos in Vinyl Flooring Led to Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Victoria Pistone was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma when she was just 41 years old. The rare disease is caused by exposure to asbestos, and she quickly connected her illness to the years she’d spent accompanying her father to his workplace on Saturdays. Her father, Rudolph Wesselhoft, had worked for both Mannington Mills and American Biltrite, and on Saturdays throughout her childhood he would take her with him. She would sit as he cut vinyl sheet flooring and opened boxes of tile, raising significant amounts of chrysotile asbestos dust that would cover her clothes. Pistone would also help him by sweeping that dust off the floor. During the week she would greet him at the door and hug him, and would help her mother shake out and launder his asbestos-covered clothing.
Her lawsuit blames her father’s two employer for her peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis, charging them with negligence. Each filed a motion for summary judgment based on affidavits of their experts, who asserted that the asbestos in the flooring products was not capable of causing her illness and that the quantity that shed been exposed to would have been insufficient to sicken her. The court granted their motion and dismissed the case against them.
Appellate Court Reverses Decision in Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Determined to have their case heard, the Pistones appealed the decision to the Appellate Division, noting that their expert witnesses had presented sufficient evidence to support their mesothelioma claim. In reviewing the evidence presented by both sides as well as precedent indicating that it was “not always necessary for a plaintiff to quantify exposure levels precisely” as long as the methods used by their experts were generally accepted in the scientific community, the appellate judges overturned the Supreme Court decision, saying that the “credibility battle between the parties’ experts” was best left to a jury to decide.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you need the support and guidance of people who understand what you are up against. For information on how the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.