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January 2009 Newsletter

What’s New

We are pleased to announce that Andrew R. Yarmus, P.E., has been acknowledged by his peers by being re-elected to an unprecedented 3rd term as President of the Rockland County Chapter of the NY State Society of Professional Engineers, as well as being nominated for the position of Mid-Hudson Region representative for the NYSSPE nominating committee. 

Recent Projects

  •  Physical Condition Survey and Reserve Fund preparation for a 95 structure upscale development in Westchester County
  • Consultation regarding parking lot and travel way drainage for a Rockland County condominium association
  • Feasibility study regarding retaining wall repair and replacement options
  • Design for the renovation of a NYC apartment
  • Consultation regarding adequacy of fire separations, fire sprinkler system, noise control issues, and code compliance for a new CT condominium complex.

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider $500 Million Asbestos Settlement

The Associated Press – December 15, 2008


The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider reinstating a roughly $500 million settlement of asbestos-related lawsuits against the Travelers Companies Inc.

The settlement would also block any new lawsuits against Travelers arising out of the insurance company’s long relationship with Johns Manville Corp., once the world’s largest producer of asbestos.

Travelers has been named in dozens of lawsuits claiming that it tried to hide the dangerous health effects of asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral that was commonly used until the mid-1970s in insulation and fireproofing material. Exposure can increase the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and other ailments, according to federal health agencies.

The company has argued that asbestos-related claims should be paid out of a trust created by Johns Manville in the 1980s and approved by a federal bankruptcy judge. Money for the fund came largely from insurers.

Travelers agreed to settle with several groups of plaintiffs provided that federal courts make clear that it would not have to face any new similar lawsuits.

The 2nd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in New York overturned lower-court approval of the settlement, saying a bankruptcy judge lacks the authority to act so broadly. The justices, at arguments in March, will consider the question of the bankruptcy court’s power.

The consolidated cases are The Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Bailey, 08-295, and Common Law Settlement Counsel v. Bailey, 08-307.

Air Quality Must be Disclosed

On December 3, 2008, amendments to the Environmental Control Conservation Law took effect in NY State that require property owners to notify tenants of indoor air quality (IAQ) testing results within their occupied tenant space.  The notification timeframe is 15 days.  The updated law, ECL 27-2405, applies to both residential and commercial properties, and will be triggered only if an “Issuer” has provided the property owner or landlord with IAQ testing results that exceed recognized air quality standards.  An Issuer is normally represented by an environmental consultant, and can be any one of the following:

1)  An owner or person responsible for contamination at a site subject to a NYSDEC order or voluntary agreement (i.e. – Brownfield) requiring development of a remedial program;  2) A participant responsible for the on-site disposal of the contamination (such as PRP under Superfund);  3) A municipality (local, county, city, etc.), or;  4) NYSDEC.

It is noted that if the landlord voluntarily undertakes air testing on his own, (i.e. – not in concert with any regulatory authority or program), he/she is not required to report the results to the tenant(s), even if the testing is the result of a tenant complaint.

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