Weitz & Luxenberg partner and notable authority on asbestos litigation, Charles M. Ferguson, is serving as a co-chair at the Perrin Conferences New York Asbestos Litigation Conference. It is being held Wednesday, December 7, at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in Manhattan, New York.
He is speaking at the Opening Remarks session from 9:00 to 9:15 a.m. In addition, Mr. Ferguson is presenting on the topic of Settlement Mediation Strategies and Principles from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.
Two of Mr. Ferguson’s W&L colleagues are also presenting at the conference. Attorney Patti L. Burstyn is presenting at the Women’s Breakfast session scheduled for 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. W&L partner Alani Golanski is presenting on the topic of Appellate and Summary Judgment Decisions from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m.
This one-day event also features multiple leading attorneys, judges, and industry professionals who head discussions on the latest happenings in New York State asbestos litigation. New Yorkers continue to face the very real possibility of developing mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer linked strongly to asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Lawsuits Caused by Talcum Powder
In essence, everything at the conference is about asbestos, lawsuits, and the best way we can help our clients. In addition, this year’s event addresses a more recent concern: asbestos in talcum powder.
For years, the public was told that talcum powder is safe. Manufacturers and distributors promoted talc products as particularly safe with infants. The truth is talcum powder products can be contaminated with asbestos. Exposure to talc has led to ovarian cancer, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
Women’s Breakfast Session
“Topics for the Women’s Breakfast session vary from year to year. It depends on the women participating and a general consensus on what is currently on these women’s minds,” explains Ms. Burstyn.
She points out some of the subjects discussed in prior years, including the:
- Advancement of women in the workplace.
- Importance of mentoring and supporting women.
- Sexual harassment faced.
- Hostile work environments and boy’s clubs.
- Challenges such as childcare and being away from your children.
- Guilt regarding the work enjoyed versus being at home.
“In recent years, we have also discussed remote work versus in-person work and the impact of each on women,” Ms. Burstyn continues.
“This year’s breakfast session looks like it’s going to be an exciting one. Of note for this year, the Women’s Breakfast session is welcoming Administrative Judge Justice Silvera to the panel for the first time. While we have had a few other brave men join our ranks, in the years that I have been a panelist, we have never had a male judge join the panel.”
Since joining Weitz & Luxenberg in 2001, Ms. Burstyn has helped secure roughly $62 million in verdicts on behalf of victims of asbestos exposure. She has achieved large settlements in multiple cases, most recently on behalf of a dozen mesothelioma victims who sued 50 companies.
Exploring New Approaches to Resolving Asbestos Claims
“Nationwide, mesothelioma remains a major health concern,” says Mr. Ferguson, who heads our firm’s Asbestos Litigation Group. “Unfortunately, studies indicate the mesothelioma mortality rate across the country is increasing.”
He continues, “As long as people face the threat of asbestos exposure and disease, Weitz & Luxenberg will continue to zealously represent our clients and to explore new and innovative approaches to resolve their claims.”
Mr. Ferguson adds, “Conferences such as Perrin Conferences New York Asbestos Litigation event provide both speakers and participants alike with the opportunity to discuss alternative dispute resolutions. This is in addition to the more traditional prosecution of cases in the tort system.”
Under Mr. Ferguson’s leadership, W&L’s mesothelioma and asbestos attorneys have achieved $8.5 billion in settlements and verdicts on behalf of victims of asbestos exposure. Our team has litigated 36,000 asbestos cases.
Since the late 1980s, Mr. Ferguson has led the firm’s asbestos attorneys to national prominence. He and his team have made it their mission to fight on behalf of tens of thousands of asbestos exposure victims who developed aggressive, incurable diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Appellate and Summary Judgment Decisions
In this session, participants consider the implications of how current appellate court decisions affect ongoing and upcoming asbestos litigation. Mr. Golanski, in his role as director of W&L’s Appellate Litigation Unit, shares his views regarding both New York appellate decisions and litigation efforts pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Important discussion topics for this year include:
- The evolving standard in New York for proving causation, as it impacts both plaintiffs in proving their cases in chief, and defendants in trying to shift blame to other tortfeasors.
- The difference between the sufficiency of causation proofs at trial and at the pre-trial summary judgment stage.
- The evolving standard, in the U.S. Supreme Court, and in New York, on getting jurisdiction over out-of-state tortfeasor corporations.
- The standard for presenting punitive damages to the jury, and obtaining a punitive damages award.
Mr. Golanski has been with W&L since 2008. He focuses primarily on our firm’s asbestos and environmental toxic torts litigation teams. He is also a leader in appellate litigation.