Each month, we like to feature one of our attorneys to help you get to know our team better. We sat down with one of our New York attorneys, Shannon Tully, to talk about her background in the legal field and what she is currently working on.
What has been your most interesting or memorable case and why?
My most memorable case was Whelan v. Armstrong International, an asbestos case that was on appeal before the New Jersey Supreme Court. In the original trial, nine individual defendants filed motions for summary judgment. The court found that the defendants weren’t liable for asbestos-containing replacement parts they hadn’t manufactured. And because the plaintiff couldn’t identify exposure to asbestos from a product manufactured or distributed by the defendants, summary judgment was granted.
My role was to help draft and file several motions and briefs on behalf of the plaintiff with the New Jersey Appellate Division. After several months, the Appellate Division issued an order in favor of the plaintiff, revising all nine orders of summary judgment and remanding the case to the trial court for trial. The Appellate Division recognized that manufacturers of complex, multi-part products that utilize asbestos components have long had a duty to warn of the hazards of asbestos replacement parts manufactured by third parties. It further recognized the well-established principle, based on an extensive, coherent body of law, that a plaintiff can satisfy his burden of proof as to medical causation by showing sufficient exposure to the defendant’s product.
In January of this year, the New Jersey Supreme Court granted the defendants class-action certification. In February, the defendants sought leave to file additional briefing with the Supreme Court, which I subsequently opposed. Right now, we’re waiting on a decision from the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding whether or not supplemental briefing will be permitted and, most importantly, on a decision whether a manufacturer can be held liable for failure to warn about the risks of asbestos-containing components or replacement parts in their products, even if they did not build or distribute those parts.
When I first started on this case, I was working full-time as a paralegal and attending law school in the evenings. But after graduating and passing the bar exam, I was made lead attorney. So, it’s one I’ve put a lot of time into and have really learned a lot from.
What litigation are you currently working on?
The firm has been heavily involved in asbestos and talcum powder cases all over the country. Right now, I’m assisting with cases in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Washington. So, there’s lots to do!
What are one or two things about you that most people don’t know?
I’m a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and I know pretty much every song of his by heart.