Michael Hoenig writes in todays NYLJ that a recent decision in toxic torts bears great scutiny.
"Put the New York Court of Appeals’ Oct. 17 decision in Parker v. Mobil Oil Corp.1 on your radar screen. Do not label this as yet another toxic tort case. Like a stealth bomber, it has some potential to evade close scrutiny yet deliver an explosive payload.
Unobtrusively, in what, at first glance, seems like just another disease-causation case resting on its own bottom, with its own set of facts, upon further study, Parker yields up quite a few practical insights. Certainly, if you are an attorney fortunate enough to battle in the sophisticated toxic tort arena, Parker is of obvious relevance.
Nevertheless, Parker can be instructive for all New York practitioners who rely upon retained experts whose scientific, technical or specialized knowledge opinions and methodologies may be questioned on reliability grounds. Indeed, Parker can be looked at on several levels. There is the straightforward story and holding on the facts of the case. Then, there are certain observations by the Court that exude significance beyond the case facts. And, finally, there are the gleanings one must pry out and extract as well as the need to recognize the questions left open. "
Avoiding mistakes in new law is a basic tenant in legal malpractice.