One of the most ambitious asbestos lawsuits ever filed in Madison County has been assembled by lawyers Randy Gori and Barry Julian of Alton.
Gori and Julian alleged on April 2 that more than 200 businesses and two state universities inflicted mesothelioma on Kentucky bricklayer Charles Childress.
Every defendant hurt Childress intentionally, they allege.
The lawyers traced 50 years of exposure across 10 states for a client who didn’t know until last month that he suffered from the disease.
Gori wrote on page 13 that “on or about March 12, 2009, plaintiff first became aware that he had developed mesothelioma, an asbestos induced disease, and that said disease was wrongfully caused.”
Gori traced exposure to his father, brother, and uncle, though Childress didn’t sue them.
Along with customary asbestos defendants Childress sued Coca-Cola, Kroger, General Mills, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Pharmacia, the University of Kentucky, and Indiana University.
Gori covered the bulk of the defendants with a blanket of general allegations.
To underscore his theme of universal exposure, he referred to defendants in singular.
He named them all and claimed they engaged in deception “through its silence.”
Childress lives in Russelleville, Ky., Gori wrote, and since 1967 he has worked through unions in Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
Gori wrote that Childress worked for contractors from New York to Illinois, including Shell and Sinclair in Madison County.
He wrote that Childress had been and would be hindered in pursuing his employment, “thereby losing large sums of money which otherwise would have accrued to him.”
Gori’s first count accused almost all defendants of negligence, claiming asbestos fibers emanated from products they manufactured, sold, distributed or installed.
The second count accused them of willful and wanton conduct, which would qualify Childress for punitive damages.
The third count skipped everyone but Metropolitan Life, Garlock Inc., and the former Abex Corporation, claiming the three conspired to conceal dangers.
Asbestos suits often include the conspiracy count, involving events back to the 1920s.
The fourth count accused each defendant of fraudulent misrepresentation, claiming they deliberately and wantonly failed to warn Childress or provide a safe place to work.
Gori wrote that they committed or commanded concealment of dangers “intending that the plaintiff would rely on its silence and thereby inhale, ingest or otherwise absorb asbestos fibers and become injured.”
The fifth count alleged battery, claiming each defendant concealed dangers “intending that plaintiff would come in contact with asbestos and that asbestos fibers would become trapped in plaintiff’s lungs without his consent.”
The sixth count accused each one of negligence in failing to provide notice of danger or a safe place to work.
The seventh count alleged willful and wanton conduct, claiming each one concealed facts intentionally or with reckless disregard for safety.
The eighth count singled out Honeywell International with no claim except that it possibly continues making products that contain asbestos.
“Investigation continues as to the last date defendant Honeywell International, Inc., manufactured, sold, and/or distributed asbestos containing products,” Gori wrote.
The ninth count accused Ferris Kimball Company, Sprinkmann Sons, Sprinkmann Insulation, and Young Insulation Group of St. Louis of destroying documents.
They knew or should have known the documents would be material in asbestos litigation, Gori wrote.
He wrote that destruction of evidence prejudiced Childress and impaired his claims against all potentially liable parties.
He wrote that due to destruction of evidence Childress “has been compelled to dismiss and/or compromise said claims against other defendants.”
The tenth count accused the same four defendants of willful and wanton conduct.
In the eleventh count, spouse Brenda Childress claimed damages from all defendants for loss of consortium.
Circuit Judge Daniel Stack will preside over the case.
Here is the complete list of defendants in the case:
A.W. Chesterton, ACME Steel, Alcoa, Aladdin Insulation, Allis-Chalmers, Alston USA, American Bridge Co., American Gunite Co., American Refractories, Trane US, American Tool Co., American Tool Supply, A.O. Smith Corp., A.P. Green Industries, Archer-Daniels-Midland, Armour Eckrich, Armstrong International, Armstrong Pumps, ArvinMeritor, ASC Insulation, Fireproofing and Supplies, Ashland, Atlantic Richfield, Auto Krafters, Avocet Enterprises, Beazer East, Inc., Beazer East individually, Bechtel Corp., Bemis, Bigelow-Liptak of Canada, BMI Refractory Services, Boehm Pressed Steel, Bondex International, Borg-Warner, BP Products NA, Brand Insulation, Bridgeport Brass, Bridgestone/Firestone America’s Holding, Burnham Hydronics, CBS Corp., The C.P. Hall Co., CSR, Carboline, Cardinal Industrial Insulation, Carnation Co., Certain-Teed Corp., Chemsteel Construction, The Chemstrand, Chevron USA, Chicago Bridge & Iron, Chrysler, Cincinnati Valve Co., Citizens Gas, Clark-Reliance, Cleaver-Brooks, CNH America, The Coca-Cola Co., Comed, ConocoPhillips, Continental Steel & Tube, Continental Teves, Conwed, Cooper Electric Supply, Cooper Industries, Corrigan Company Mechanical Contractors, Crane Co., Crown Cork & Seal, Cytec Industries, Dana Companies, Dap, Detroit Stoker, Dow Chemical, Dravo Corp., Durabla Manufacturing, Duro Dyne, Eaton Corp., Eli Lilly, Elliott Turbomachinery, Emerson Electric. Ericcson, The Eureka Co., En Pro Industries, Fairbanks Valves, Pentair, Ferro Engineering. Fischer Industries, Fluor Corp., Fluor Daniel Illinois, Fluor Daniel Services Corp., Fluor Enterprises, Ford Motor, Foster Wheeler, Garlock, General Electric, General Mills, General Motors, General Refractories. General Shale Products, Georgia-Pacific, The Glidden Co., Goodrich Corp., Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Goulds Pumps, Grimes Aerospace Co., Halliburton, Hanson Pipe & Products Minnesota, Harbison-Walker Refractories, Harrison Steel Castings, H.B. Fuller Co., Hill Brothers Chemical, Honeywell, Honeywell International, IMO Industries, Indiana Steel Fabricating, Indiana University, Indopco, Industrial Heat Treating & Metallurgical, Industrial Holding Corp., Ingersoll-Rand, Interstate Bakeries, Iowa-Illinois Taylor Insulation, Inc., Iowa-Illinois Taylor Insulation Contracting, Ispat Inland, ITT Corp., Iron Fireman Combustion Products, J.S. Alberici, J.M. Asbestos Sales, J-M Manufacturing, John Crane, John Deere Co., Johnston Boiler, Kelly Moore Paint, Kennecott Utah Copper, Kentile Floors, The Kroger Co., Lear Siegler Diversified Holding, Libbey Glass, Link Belt Construction Equipment, Marathon Oil, Marvin E. Phillips Boiler Service, McDermott International, McKesson Corp., McLeod Industries, Meadwestvaco, Millennium Specialty Chemicals, Mine Safety Appliances, Missouri Boiler Corp., Mobil Oil Corp., Morrison Knudsen, National Distillers Products, National Gypsum Properties, National Steel, Nooter Corp., Novartis Corp., Nutone, Inc., Oakfabco, Inc., Occidental Chemical Corp., Olin, Owens-Illinois, The Pacific Boiler Co., Peerless Pump Co., Pfizer, Pharmacia Corp., Pilkington North America, Plastics Engineering Co., Plibrico Co., Pneumo Abex Corp., Precision Boilers, The Premcor Refining, The Procter& Gamble Co., Quigley Co., Reamy International, Refractory Engineers, Ric-Wil, Inc., Riley Power, Rockwell Automation, RPM International, Sachs Electric, Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Shell Oil, Shell Chemical, Sherwin-Williams, Sinclair Oil & Gas, Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., Sprinkmann Sons, Sprinkmann Insulation, SPX Cooling Technologies, Square D, Sulzer Pumps, Sunny Hill Coal, Superior Boiler Works, Swift & Co., Thiem Corp., Treesdale, Inc., Triangle Enterprises, Union Carbide, Union Carbide as successor to National Carbon Co., University of Kentucky, United States Steel, Ust, Inc., Warren Pumps, Water Applications Distribution, Welco Manufacturing, Western Electric, Whirlpool, The William Powell Co., Yarway Corp., York International, Young Insulation, Young Group, Zurn Industries, and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.