DECISION AND ORDER
SHERRY KLEIN HEITLER, Judge.
In this asbestos-related personal injury action, defendant The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company ("Goodyear") moves pursuant to CPLR 3212 for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and all other claims against it. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is denied.
Summary judgment is a drastic remedy that must not be granted if there is any doubt or if it is even arguable there exists a triable issue of fact. Tronlone v Lac d'Aminate du Quebec, Ltee, 297 A.D.2d 528, 528-29 (1st Dcpt 2002). To obtain summary judgment, the movant must establish its cause of action or defense sufficiently to warrant a court's directing judgment in its favor as a matter of law, and must tender sufficient evidence to demonstrate the absence of any material issues of fact. Zuckerman v City of New York, 49 N.Y.2d 557, 562 (1980); CPLR 3212(b).
In asbestos-related litigation, once the movant has made a prima facie showing of its entitlement to summary judgment, the plaintiff must then demonstrate that there was exposure to asbestos fibers released from the defendant's product. Cawein v Flintkote Co., 203 A.D.2d 105, 106 (1st Dept 1994). In this context, the plaintiff need only show "facts and conditions from which the defendant's liability may be reasonably inferred." Reid v Georgia-Pacific Corp., 212 A.D.2d 462, 463 (1st Dept 1995).
Plaintiff Ronald Deon was diagnosed with lung cancer in or about August of 2006, four years
The defendant does not dispute that Mr. Deon may have seen Goodyear-brand sheet gasket materials at those locations. Instead, defendant argues that there is no evidence that such materials contained asbestos or that Mr. Deon ever worked specifically with sheet gasket material to begin with. With respect to his service at Fort Sill, Mr. Deon briefly testified that he fashioned water pump gaskets and fuel pump gaskets from sheet gasket material for use on motors and that they were manufactured by "either Goodyear and sometimes Garlock." Deposition p. 277. He later testified in detail regarding his exposure at Fort Hood (Deposition pp. 412-13, 401-03):
In reliance upon the July 2007 deposition testimony of Goodyear corporate representative Mr. E.W. DeMarse in an unrelated action, the defendant argues that there is no evidence the Goodyear gaskets Mr. Deon alleges to have worked with contained asbestos Mr. DeMarse, who worked for Goodyear in various capacities from 1952 to 1991, testified that 75% of Goodyear's sheet gasket material did not contain asbestos during the early 1960s. However, the accuracy of Mr. DeMarse's calculation is open to question because he admitted that he did not recall ever "seeing any figures on that." Defendant's exhibit C, p. 28. Instead, Mr. DeMarse "hazard[ed] a guess ... based more on observing in the factory the pounds and square feet that we made in both ways." Id. In light of Mr. DeMarse's estimations as compared to Mr. Deon's testimony, there is a triable issue of material fact which can only be decided at trial.
Defendant's assertion that there is no specific evidence linking Mr. Deon to Goodyear gaskets as opposed to other brands is without merit. Here, as in Reid, supra, Mr. Deon sufficiently identified specific brands of asbestos-containing gaskets, including Goodyear, in use at the relevant worksites at the relevant times. His testimony further indicates that he used such gaskets interchangeably. Id.
The defendant also argues that Mr. Deon's alleged exposure to asbestos from Goodyear products was so de minimis that it could not have caused his lung cancer given his alternative occupational exposures and substantial smoking history. In support defendant relies on Thompson v A. C&S, et al., Index No. 111186/99 (Sup. Ct. NY. Co., Nov. 4, 1999), to which defendant cites for the proposition that de minimis levels of exposure in asbestos— related lung cancer cases cannot survive summary judgment. However, the Thompson decision is inconsistent with prevailing appellate authority, (see Reid, supra; Cawein, supra), and provides no factual backdrop to show that it is consistent with this case. Whether Mr. Deon's work with Goodyear-brand gaskets actually caused his injuries will necessarily require a jury to weigh competing evidence and reflect on the credibility of expert witnesses, notwithstanding Mr. Deon's alternative occupational exposures and smoking history. See Dollas v W.R. Grace & Co., 225 A.D.2d 319, 321 (1st Dept 1996).
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company's motion for summary judgment is denied in its entirety.
This constitutes the decision and order of the court.