Retired Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Sherry Klein Heitler is being succeeded by Justice Peter H. Moulton as federal prosecutors continue their probe into whether her court gave “red-carpet treatment” to civil-asbestos related cases connected to former Assembly Sheldon Silver’s federal corruption case.
Asbestos lawsuits filed by plaintiffs’ firm Weitz & Luxenberg, at which Silver was “of counsel,” were fast-tracked to “courtrooms presided over by judges linked to Silver” and “received $5.3 million in what federal prosecutors say were kickbacks,” according the NY Post. NY Post writes that Heitler “revised a 20-year ruling that prohibited punitive damages in asbestos cases – allowing for bigger jury awards.”
Futhermore, Heitler was the chief administrative judge for the Civil Court and also led the New York City Asbestos Litigation section, or NYCAL; of the $313.5 million in mesothelioma verdicts awarded by NYCAL juries in the last four years, Weitz & Luxenberg cases received $273.5 million.
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