New Yorker files first asbestos case of '06 in Madison County

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 4, 2007, 9:57am

A New York woman who suffers from mesothelioma filed the first asbestos suit of 2007 against 104 defendants in Madison County Circuit Court Jan. 3, alleging she was exposed to airborne asbestos fibers from his father's clothing.

Dorothy Liss claims her father was employed as a carpenter, maintenance worker and stationary engineer at various locations across the country.

"Dust created by working with and around asbestos and asbestos-containing products would permeate the person and clothing of the plaintiff's father," the complaint states. "This dust contained asbestos fiber."

Liss claims her father would carry the asbestos dust on his clothing home with him where it would again become airborne.

"The plaintiff would be repeatedly exposed to this asbestos dust from his father's person and clothing," the complaint states.

Liss was employed from 1942 through 1990 as a cashier and newspaper office worker at various locations throughout Illinois.

She also claims she was exposed to asbestos during non-occupational work projects including home and automotive repairs, maintenance and remodeling.

Liss was diagnosed with mesothelioma on Aug. 31, 2006, and subsequently became aware that her illness was wrongfully caused, the suit claims.

The complaint alleges that defendants failed to require and advise their employees of hygiene practices designed to reduce or prevent carrying asbestos fibers home.

As a result of the alleged negligence, Liss claims she was exposed to fibers containing asbestos, and developed a disease caused only by asbestos which has disabled and disfigured her.

Liss also claims that she has sought, but has been unable to obtain full disclosure of relevant documents and information from the defendants leading her to believe the defendants destroyed documents related to asbestos.

"It was foreseeable to a reasonable person/entity in the respective positions of defendants, that said documents and information constituted evidence, which was material to potential civil litigation-namely asbestos litigation," the complaint states.

She claims that as a result of each defendant breaching its duty to preserve material evidence by destroying documents and information she has been prejudiced and impaired in proving claims against all potential parties.

"Plaintiff has been caused to suffer damages in the form of impaired ability to recover against defendants and lost or reduced compensation from other potentially liable parties in this litigation," the complaint states.

Represented by Nicholas Angelides, Perry Browder and John Barnerd of SimmonsCooper in East Alton, Liss is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $700,000, plus punitive damages.

"An award of punitive damages is appropriate and necessary in order to punish defendants for their willful, wanton, intentional and/or reckless misconduct and to deter defendants and others from engaging in like misconduct in the future."

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Dan Stack.

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