Asbestos defendant wants out of Madison County venue

Steve Gonzalez Nov. 1, 2006, 6:43am

Kurtis Reeg

Tim McGuire

Continental Teves, Inc. has asked Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack to dismiss an asbestos complaint or transfer it to a county with proper venue.

In a motion filed Oct. 24, CTI argues that William Hardester failed to allege any facts that establish Madison County as the proper venue for the case.

"Plaintiff has failed to show that any defendant is a resident of Madison County who is joined in good faith and with probable cause for the purpose of obtaining a judgment against him/her/it and solely for the purpose of fixing venue in Madison County," the motion states.

CTI claims the suit should be dismissed on the basis of forum non conveniens.

Hardester filed suit on May 4 against 98 defendants alleging he was diagnosed with mesothelioma on April 7. The suit claims he worked from 1963-2006 as a welder, sheetmetal worker, assembly worker, forklift driver and delivery driver at various locations throughout the State of Illinois.

He claims the defendants failed to exercise ordinary care and caution for his safety by including asbestos in their products even though it was completely foreseeable that people working with and around asbestos would inhale, ingest or otherwise absorb great amounts of asbestos.

Hardester also claims the defendants included asbestos in their products when they knew asbestos fibers would have a highly deleterious effect on the health of people absorbing them, included asbestos in their products when adequate substitutes were available, failed to provide any warnings to people working with or around asbestos and failed to conduct tests on asbestos-containing products in order to determine the hazards to workers.

He is seeking at least $250,000 in damages for negligence, willful and wanton acts, conspiracy, and negligent spoliation of evidence among other allegations.

"In addition to compensatory damages, an award of punitive damages is appropriate and necessary in order to punish the defendants for willful, wanton, intentional and reckless misconduct and to deter them and others from engaging in like misconduct in the future," his complaint filed by SimmonsCooper states.

CTI, represented by Kurtis Reeg, Jim Nowogrocki and Tim McGuire of St. Louis, also claims Hardester's complaint is substantially insufficient in law.

"To plead exposure to asbestos, Illinois courts require that the plaintiff identify the specific product allegedly produced by defendant, and the dates and places of exposure," the motion states.

CTI also writes that plaintiffs must state the time during which the defendant supplied the product to their employer, specify the disease contracted and indicate where in the chain of production the defendant is located.

CTI also claims Hardester's complaint seeks punitive damages and in Illinois no complaint can be filed seeking punitive damages.

"This Court has not found that plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of proving facts at trial sufficient to support an award of punitive damages against CTI," the motion states.

Stack has not set the motion for a hearing.

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