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New York Court Dismisses Chemical Sensitivity Claims for Lack of Causation

Illustrating the difficulty in pursuing a multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) claim, a New York appeals court upheld dismissal of Plaintiff’s toxic tort claim because he failed to establish a causal link between chemical exposure and his symptoms. See Abrams v. Related, L.P., 2016 BL 91070 (N.Y. App. Div. March 24, 2016).

Plaintiff alleged personal injuries from exposure to fumes emanating from a flooring adhesive used in an adjacent apartment.  In upholding the trial court’s grant of Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, the Court held that Plaintiff, by failing to identify his expert witnesses as required, was unable to prove general or specific causation linking the adhesive and his alleged injuries. The Court also held that, even if Plaintiff had timely designated his expert witnesses, he still did not establish general causation connecting this adhesive to MCS, nor did he connect his exposure to the adhesive to his illness. Defendants, on the other hand, offered expert affidavits “stating that [MCS] is not a scientifically or medically recognized condition, that a causal connection between MCS and chemical exposure has not been accepted in the scientific community, and that [Plaintiff’s] level of exposure to chemicals in [the adhesive] could not have caused his claimed illness.” Slip op. at *117.

This blog was prepared with the assistance of Lynne Howard.

© 2020 Beveridge & Diamond PC


About this Author

Daniel M. Krainin, Environmental Attorney, Beveridge Diamond Law Firm

Daniel M. Krainin is a Principal in the New York office of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.  He was named to the 2011 and 2012 Super Lawyers list for the New York Metropolitan area, holds an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and serves as a Vice Chair of the ABA Environment Section's Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Committee.

212-702 5417
Graham C. Zorn, Environmental Law Attorney, Beveridge Diamond Law Firm

Graham C. Zorn is an Associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., with a general litigation, regulatory, and environmental practice.  Graham has represented individual businesses, trade associations, and municipalities in compliance, enforcement, and counseling matters involving the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, CERCLA and other state and federal statutes.  He has worked extensively on a series of complex products liability and toxic tort cases related to alleged groundwater contamination involving a gasoline additive.  Graham has also counseled domestic and international clients on a variety of product compliance, market access, and enforcement matters.  Specifically, Graham is well versed in reporting requirements related to the use of conflict minerals in various electronics, medical devices, and consumer products.