Behrens and Goldberg Propose Changes to New York's Asbestos Litigation System

Shook Partners Mark Behrens and Phil Goldberg have written an article for Law360 on the future of asbestos litigation in New York. A recently retired judge, federal corruption charges for the former state assembly speaker and investigative reports have led to the court's reexamination of its case management order on asbestos litigation, they explain, because since 2009 the system has been a "judicial hellhole" biased toward asbestos plaintiffs.

Behrens and Goldberg suggest that if the court wants to restore confidence in the judiciary, the new judge overseeing the litigation should "(1) stop consolidating dissimilar cases, (2) restore the ban on punitive damages and (3) have true transparency between the tort system and asbestos bankruptcy trusts." They explain the importance of each suggestion, concluding, "Judge Moulton should restore NYCAL’s sense of public good and stop New York’s courts from being systematically manipulated to maximize profits at the expense of the fair resolution of claims."