Lindau's asbestos case settles

Steve Gonzalez Nov. 22, 2004, 12:08pm

Luke Lindau in Madison County

Luke Lindau, a 78-year-old Arlington Heights man who suffers from mesothelioma, will not get his long-awaited chance to face the people responsible for his illness in court. Instead, Lindau settled for a handsome sum of nearly $4 million, according to his attorney Scott Hendler.

"We believed that the defendants’ herculean efforts to delay this trial would only hurt Mr. Lindau," Hendler said. "His interests were paramount to our decision to settle.”

An asbestos suit against 59 defendants filed a year ago in Madison County Circuit Court came close to trial in recent weeks. But various legal maneuvers--including defense motions to transfer and then remove the case to federal court--ultimately landed and stalled in appellate court, which was considering an emergency motion to stay the trial.

Hendler, who called the settlement a "favorable amount," said his client had wanted to tell his story in court "to help prevent this type of thing from happening to other people in the future."

According to his complaint, Lindau alleged that during the course of his employment and during home remodeling work, he was exposed to, ingested or otherwise absorbed large amounts of asbestos fibers emanating from certain products he worked around and that they were manufactured or sold by the defendants.

A former union painter, Lindau was diagnosed with mesothelioma--the deadliest form of asbestos-related cancer--in October 2002.

“We expect that the overall recovery from all defendants, including individual trust funds established by defendants that sought bankruptcy protection but are still viable and profitable businesses... is a reflection of the merit with which the defendants viewed Mr. Lindau’s claims against them and the trial team that represented him,” according to a statement from Hendler.

Hendler’s co-counsel was Mike Bilbrey of the Edwardsville firm, Bilbrey & Hylla.

“I think we were able to accomplish this because the defendants did not consider the emergency appeal to have much chance of success," Hendler said. "The trial judge indicated he would reset the case for December 13 if the appeal were rejected."

Jeff Hebrank, who represents defendants Bondex and Georgia Pacific, could not be reached for comment.

Hendler is managing attorney of Hendler Law, a national trial firm representing victims and their families in mesothelioma and pharmaceutical drug injury litigation throughout the country.

Lindau already has exceeded the normal life expactancy of a mesothelioma patient, according to Hendler.

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