Northeasterner files asbestos suit in Madison County

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 7, 2006, 6:18am

A man who worked in Massachusetts and Maine for nearly three decades filed an asbestos suit against 44 defendants in Madison County Circuit Court, claiming exposure to asbestos has caused him to develop mesothelioma.

Represented by Mark Lanier and Angela Barmby Greenberg of Houston, Texas and Randy Gori of Edwardsville, Arthur Alton claims he was diagnosed with the fatal disease on March 29, and learned his disease was wrongfully caused.

According to the lawsuit filed Sept. 1, Alton alleges that the defendants failed to exercise ordinary care and caution for his safety by including asbestos in their products, even though it was completely foreseeable and should have been anticipated that people working with or around them would inhale, ingest, or otherwise absorb great amounts of asbestos.

He claims the defendants intentionally or with a reckless disregard for his safety:

  • included asbestos in their products, when the defendants knew or should have known that the asbestos fibers would have a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect upon her health;
  • included asbestos in their products when adequate substitutions were available;
  • failed to provide adequate warning to people working with and around the products of the dangers of inhaling, ingesting or otherwise absorbed fibers in them;
  • failed to provide adequate instruction concerning the safe methods of working with and around asbestos products; and
  • failed to conduct tests on the asbestos-containing products, manufactured, sold or delivered by the defendants in order to determine the hazards to which workers might be exposed.

    Alton was employed from 1963 to 1967 as a boilerman/fireman in the U.S. Navy in Illinois, Florida and Rhode Island; from 1968 to 1972 as a mechanic at two different service stations in Massachusetts; from 1972 to 1974 as a mechanic for Bedford Cities Services in Massachusetts; from 1974 to 1975 as a machinist's helper in Massachusetts; from 1976 to 1977 as a machinery mechanic at Bethlehem Shipyard in Massachusetts; from 1977 to 1983 at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine and from the 1950s to the 1980s as a shadetree mechanic in Massachusetts.

    "The defendants knew of or should have known that the asbestos fibers contained in their products had a toxic, poisonous, and highly deleterious effect upon the health of people inhaling, ingesting, or otherwise absorbing them," the complaint states.

    Defendants included asbestos in their products even though adequate substitutes for asbestos were available, and they failed to provide warnings of the dangers of working around asbestos, according to the suit.

    Alton claims he has become disabled and disfigured, became liable for medical expenses, experiences great physical pain and mental anguish, and has been prevented from pursuing his normal course of employment losing large sums of money.

    Carole Alton is also seeking damages claiming her husband's illness has deprived her of the companionship, society and services of her husband.

    The Altons are seeking damages in excess of $200,000 plus punitive damages in excess of $100,000. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel J. Stack.

    06 L 740

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