Emergency measures imposed to address the COVID-19 epidemic halted jury trials in March 2020, but had zero impact on new filings that year. The 336 NYCAL cases filed in 2020 exceeded by 14 the number of cases filed in 2019. In 2021, however, a drop in the number of new cases filed coincided with waning expectations for a swift return to business as usual.
Here is our by-the-numbers review of 2021.
14: Number of plaintiffs’ law firms filing asbestos personal injury cases in NYCAL in 2021 (unchanged from 2020).
276: Number of NYCAL actions filed in 2021 (down from 336 cases in 2020).
26: Number of NYCAL actions filed in 2021 involving allegations of exposure to asbestos-contaminated talc products. These 26 cases translate to 9.4% of all NYCAL cases filed in 2021, which is in line with 2020 statistics.
168: Number of NYCAL actions filed in 2021 by Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. Weitz & Luxenberg has been at this for more than 30 years, during which time it has been the perennial leader in new NYCAL filings. Meirowitz & Wassenberg, LLP continues in its role as second largest annual filer, with 38 new cases in 2021. The Early Firm, which had 12 new filings in 2021, took over the third spot. Eleven firms had 10 or fewer new filings in 2021.
99: Largest number of defendants named in a single NYCAL action in 2021. To be sure, it is not unusual for multiple entities to be named as defendants in NYCAL cases. For example, 65 entities are named as defendants in a case brought on behalf of Edward and Carol Palmentiero (Palmentiero v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., New York County Index No. 190155/2021), and there are 80 named defendants in a case brought on behalf of Stanley and Janice Garland (Garland v. 84 Lumber Company, et al., New York County Index No. 190199/2021). But, the distinction of most named defendants in a 2021 NYCAL filing belongs to the case brought on behalf of the estate of Ralph Taylor (Meikle v. 3M et al., New York County Index No. 190236/2021).
LDE represents certain defendants in NYCAL, as well as in other counties in New York State and in the Asbestos Multi-County Litigation in New Jersey. Bernard Daskal has been representing defendants in asbestos litigation for over 20 years.