NEW YORK – The defendant Union Carbide Company (UCC) entered into a tolling agreement with the plaintiff’s former counsel that terminated on December 31, 2009. The plaintiff filed the instant matter on July 30, 2013, well after the two year deadline for filing a wrongful death action and three year deadline for filing a personal injury action based on exposure to asbestos. UCC filed for summary judgment based on those facts, which the trial court granted.

The plaintiff’s appeal centered on the argument that the defendant should be barred from asserting a statute of limitations defense based on equitable estoppel, in that after the subject agreement terminated, the defendant continued to negotiate with the plaintiff’s former attorneys regarding claims raised by persons with asbestos-related injuries. Crucially, the affidavit of the plaintiff’s former attorneys only cited the defendant’s continued participation in settlement negotiations in actions involving persons claiming asbestos-related injuries; the affidavit did not indicate that the plaintiff in the instant matter delayed in filing a claim against UCC based on those negotiations, that the plaintiff’s case was among those being negotiated after the agreement terminated, that the plaintiff actually participated in those negotiations, or that the defendant made any false or deceptive statements to him or others on which the plaintiff relied in failing to timely bring an action against the defendant.

Therefore, the appellate court upheld the trial court’s order granting UCC’s motion for summary judgment.

Read the case decision here.