The Madison County Record Mar. 28, 2014, 6:50am

Now that an expectant mother can know the sex of her child in advance of delivery, relatives, friends, and strangers are likely to ask not if she’s hoping for, but if “it” is a boy or a girl.

The mother who has not yet determined the sex of her child, or prefers to be surprised postpartum, can only respond: Yes. (It is a boy or a girl).

Which is a truthful answer, since the baby in her womb is certainly human and bound to be one sex or the other.

When someone takes note of the delicate condition of our courts in St. Clair and Madison Counties and asks if we’re expecting better times or worse, we’re likely, after a pregnant pause, to offer a similar response: Yes. (One or the other).

That’s because we really have no way of knowing in advance what’s to come and can only speculate -- hope for better, and be prepared for worse.

What, for instance, will be the fallout from the string of verdicts favoring defendants in asbestos trials over the last decade? Will there be more suits taken to court, fewer settlements reached, fewer suits filed? Opinion varies.

Defense attorney Brian Huelsmann of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville, believes that recent defense victories will encourage more companies to take their cases to trial.

Plaintiffs attorney Patrick Haines of Napoli, Bern, Ripka & Shkolnik – a New York-based firm with a relatively new Madison County office – doubts that those defense victories will discourage plaintiffs from going to trial.

We’ll leave the prognostication to mystics.

In the short run, we hope more of the speculative and spurious asbestos suits do go to trial and result in defense victories. In the long run, we’d like to see fewer such suits filed, the asbestos docket disappear, and the Metro East develop a reputation for something positive.

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