Second asbestos trial in a month under way in Madison County

Steve Gonzalez May 31, 2005, 12:29pm

Judge Daniel Stack

David Greenstone

General Electric and John Crane are on trial in Madison County Circuit Court's second asbestos trial in less than a month.

In its fifth day Tuesday, plaintiff Jane Gudmundson claimed her late husband Harvey Gudmundson was exposed to asbestos while serving on the U.S.S. Bausell--a navy destroyer during the Korean War in the early 1950s.

Before May, there had not been a Madison County asbestos trial in nearly two years.

On May 19, a jury ordered Bondex International to pay Willard King and his wife Elizabeth $500,000. King was diagnosed with mesothelioma on May 5, 2004, and claimed he was contaminated from working on a home remodeling project in the early 1970s.

Gudmundson alleges that the General Electric asbestos-insulated steam turbines in the Bausell caused her husband’s mesothelioma.

Harvey Gudmundson was diagnosed with mesothelioma in October 2002, and died in February 2003 due to complications from the disease. The suit was filed in April 2003.

In the trial's third day, defendants Warren Pumps and IMO settled and were dismissed.

Gudmundson is represented by David Greenstone of Dallas, Texas and Barry Julian of Alton.

General Electric is represented by Ronald Flack of Gallop, Johnson & Neumann of St. Louis and Myra Eaton. John Crane is represented by Ed Burns of O'Connell & Associates in Elgin.

The plaintiffs have called the same experts in the case as in the King trial. Arnold Brody, Ph.D. of Tulane University has already testified and Eugene Mark, M.D. of Harvard University is expected to testify Wednesday (today).

Frank Parker, an industrial hygienist, and O.W. Forrest, a naval friend who also served on the Bausell, have testified in the trial for the plaintiff.

On Jan. 26, GE attorneys tried to convince Stack to transfer the case to Cook County where Gudmundson now lives telling Stack, "You have an obligation to transfer this case as it burdens this county since there is no exposure alleged here."

Julian countered that the motion was nothing more than a stall tactic as the case was originally set for trial in early February. Stack agreed that it was too close to trial to transfer the case, but noted if it was filed earlier in the case, he would have likely transferred the case.

The jury consists of 10 woman and four men.

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