Estate of Michael Boyle v. Lappin Bros. Inc.
May 26, 2022
CategoriesDeath Benefits Statutory Construction Death Benefits Statutory Construction
Sec. 107 third party lien
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
Estate of Michael Boyle and Faye Boyle v. Lappin Brothers, Inc. (attached) - Mr. Boyle was a pipefitter who last worked in 1977 because of an unrelated back injury. In 2009 he was diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by his prior exposure to asbestos at work. He died in 2010 and his estate filed death claims, asserting that his last injurious exposure occurred at Lappin Brothers.
In 2019 Judge Elwin found that Boyle proved causation, but she declined to order payment of any further benefits, because the estate had already received a large third-party settlement against the manufacturers, and that amount exceeded the amount of the Lappin Brothers’ potential liability under the Act.
Boyle appealed, arguing that the third-party settlement came from manufacturers other than the one involved in Lappin Brothers’ exposure, so §107 did not apply. Boyle also said that Lappin Brothers forfeited their lien because they did not file a lawsuit against the asbestos manufacturer they used.
The Appellate Division panel upheld Judge Elwin's decision. They noted that §107 requires only that the liability recovery come from “some person other than the employer,” and it gives the employer the option to pursue the manufacturers, not an obligation to do so.