Russo & Gould's Josh H. Kardisch Publishes Article on Lead "Poisoning" and Asbestos Litigation
Josh Kardisch’s article, “Lead ‘Poisoning’ and Asbestos Litigation,” appears in the Spring 2021 edition of Defendant: The Journal of the Defense Association of New York. The issue is part two in a series devoted to premises liability. Kardisch, who serves as Of Counsel to Russo & Gould, has defended toxic tort, construction accident, and general personal injury litigation for 35 years.
In the article, Kardisch addresses both lead poisoning and asbestos litigation, discussing critical strategies for defending each of the health-related claims. He writes that since plaintiffs generally claim that lead poisoning has caused brain damage, defense counsel must be diligent in investigating every possible causative element, such as improper nutrition, poor parenting, exposure to other environmental irritants, genetics, etc.
Kardisch details Local Law 1 of 1982, the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2003, which was established to direct resources to prevention of lead poisoning and hold landlords of multiple dwellings accountable when it does occur, particularly in children. He also discusses the Chapman scenario and the laws that apply to non-multiple dwellings and residential properties outside the City of New York. Kardisch writes that in both situations, cases can be won or lost on the jury’s perception of the landlord, and that in addition to exploring all causative factors, defense counsel must prove the landlord to be an attentive and caring property owner who acted appropriately even before receiving notification of a lead condition.
The second half of Kardisch’s article addresses asbestos litigation. “No amount of exposure to asbestos can be considered non-hazardous,” he writes. However, in order to prove a case of damaging exposure, plaintiffs must provide evidence that the defendant’s product was present at the time of the plaintiff’s inhalation, that the product was capable of causing a particular illness (general causation), and that the plaintiff was exposed to sufficient levels of the toxin to develop an illness (specific causation).
Although New York has yielded some of the largest verdicts in asbestos cases in the country, Kardisch cites several cases in which judgments were entered in favor of the defense. He writes that in order to reach a favorable outcome, “it is essential for defense counsel to challenge plaintiff’s proof on product identification and both general and specific causation.” Read the full article on the Defense Association of New York website.