Asbestos cases continue to drop in Madison County
Pipe fitter Donald Enright is taking on 130 U.S. corporations as Madison County's 120th asbestos plaintiff in 2006.
Enright, who claims he was exposed to asbestos from 1951 to 1995 at various locations throughout the state of Illinois -- like so many plaintiffs before him -- is lodging his complaint against a large swath of American manufacturers.
Defendants include Anheuser Busch, AT&T, AutoZone, Alton & Southern Railway, ExxonMobil, General Motors, Illinois Power, Shell Oil and Union Pacific.
Enright, who is seeking in excess of $700,000 in compensatory damages plus punitive damages, claims the defendants knew or should have known that the asbestos fibers contained in their products had a toxic, poisonous, and highly deleterious effect upon the health of persons inhaling them, as most asbestos complaints allege.
He is represented by Michael Angelides of the giant asbestos firm SimmonsCooper of East Alton.
At one time Madison County Circuit Court was the busiest asbestos docket in the country.
But if Enright's suit filed mid-year on June 30 is any indication, it is obvious that new asbestos suits are in steep decline in Madison County Circuit Court.
Last year a total of 389 asbestos cases were filed in Madison County, the lowest amount of cases in seven years. The peak occurred in 2003 when 953 asbestos lawsuits were filed. That was the same year a record number of class action lawsuits were filed in Madison County.
Here is a rundown of previous years and the number of asbestos cases filed in Madison County.
Enright alleges his exposure to asbestos fibers was completely foreseeable and should have been anticipated by the defendants.
According to Enright, he first became aware that he suffered from lung cancer on July 20, 2004 and colon cancer on Jan. 28, 2004, and that the diseases were wrongfully caused.
Enright claims the defendants included asbestos in their products when adequate substitutes were available, failed to provide any or adequate warnings about the dangers of asbestos, failed to conduct tests on asbestos to determine the hazards, and designed, manufactured and sold equipment that contained and included asbestos.
Enright claims his asbestos related diseases have caused him to become permanently disabled and disfigured, caused him to become liable for medical expenses, caused great physical pain and mental anguish and caused him to be hindered from pursuing the normal course of employment causing him to lose large sums of money.
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