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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 National Law Review, Volume VI, Number 218

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About this Author

Daniel M. Krainin Environmental Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond New York, NY
Principal

Dan deploys more than two decades of environmental litigation experience to resolve clients’ legal and business challenges.

Primarily focused on environmental and toxic tort litigation, Dan helps clients successfully resolve groundwater contamination, hazardous waste site remediation, natural resource damages, permit defense and product-related matters. He enjoys using his skills as a litigator to help clients solve environmental problems.

Among his many wins, Dan successfully led a team that defeated an emergency challenge to a permit that Dan’s client needed to continue its...

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Graham C. Zorn Environmental, Toxic Tort, Products Liability Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Washington, DC
Principal

Graham Zorn focuses his practice on environmental, toxic tort, and products liability litigation.

His representative experience includes extensive work on a series of complex products liability and toxic tort cases related to alleged groundwater, and litigation over lead in drinking water. He has represented individual businesses, trade associations, and municipalities in litigation, as well as in compliance, enforcement, and counseling matters involving the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, CERCLA and other state and federal environmental statutes. He also counsels domestic and international clients on a variety of product compliance, market access, and enforcement matters. In particular, he is well versed in reporting requirements related to conflict mineral use in electronics, medical devices, and consumer products.

Graham obtained his law degree from Vermont Law School where he was a Head Notes Editor for the Vermont Law Review and a student clinician in the Environment and Natural Resources Law Clinic. During law school, he clerked at the Wisconsin Department of Justice in the Environmental Protection Unit where he assisted in defending state agencies in a citizen suit alleging Clean Air Act new source review violations.

Before law school, Graham worked on domestic social policy, with a focus on health care, and environment and energy policy for U.S. Senator Russ Feingold. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Carleton College with a major in Geology. 

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