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Krauss v. 3M Co.

Supreme Court, New York County

August 22, 2013

WILLIAM KRAUSS and JEANNE KRAUSS, Plaintiff,
v.
3M COMPANY, et al., Defendants. Index No. 190020/12

Unpublished Opinion

DECISION & ORDER

SHERRY KLEIN HEITLER, JUDGE.

In this asbestos personal injury action, defendant Cushman & Wakefield, Inc. ("Cushman") moves pursuant to CPLR 3212 for an order dismissing the complaint and all cross-claims against it on the ground that plaintiffs have not shown that plaintiff William E. Krauss was exposed to asbestos by any product manufactured, distributed, or installed by Cushman, or that Cushman supervised or controlled any of the work which gave rise to Mr. Krauss's alleged asbestos exposure. Plaintiffs contend that Cushman is responsible for Mr. Krauss's injuries under New York's Labor Law and the common law insofar as it negligently supervised certain of his job sites. As more fully set forth below, the motion is granted.

Plaintiffs commenced this action to recover for injuries caused by Mr. Krauss's alleged exposure to asbestos on or about January 17, 2012. Mr. Krauss was deposed over the course of eight days in February and March of 2012. He sat for a videotaped deposition on April 10, 2012.[1]

Mr. Krauss testified that from 1951 to the early 1970's and from 1978 to 1986 he was employed as a union sheet metal worker responsible for installing HVAC systems and associated duct work throughout New York City. Mr. Krauss offered extensive testimony in respect of his alleged exposure and identified the manufacturers of numerous types of equipment and products which he believed contributed to his injuries.

Mr. Krauss worked at a number of new construction sites throughout his career, including a Trump Towers building in Manhattan, the Delta Terminal at LaGuardia Airport, Lincoln Center, and a General Motors building near Central park. While he was unable to specifically identify which general contractor was present at each construction site, he testified that Cushman oversaw some of them (Deposition, pp. 1366, 1294-95):

Q. Do you recall which general contractors you worked with through your career?
A. Well, on the new construction, it was -- can I refer to my list?
Q. If you need your list to refresh your recollection, that's okay.
A. It was, Bechtel did some of the jobs. It was mostly Cushman, Fuller, Tishman, and a lot of occasions Wolf and Munier, and Turner; Turner was a big contractor.
Q. And that was for new construction?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were these contractors at renovation work that you did, as well, sir?
A. Not normally. The work wasn't as extensive enough for them to get involved. It ...

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