Missouri worker's asbestos complaint filed in Madison County

Steve Gonzalez Sep. 4, 2007, 3:25pm

The estate of Ambrose Poss filed an asbestos suit against 79 defendant corporations claiming he was exposed to asbestos while employed as a mechanic, service manager, business manager, supervisor and general manager at various locations from 1946-1981.

The suit, filed Aug. 28 in Madison County Circuit Court, states that Ambrose resided in Missouri. Douglas Ambrose, the worker's son, filed the complaint.

Some of the defendants include Bondex, Chrysler, Deere & Company, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, Goodyear, John Crane, Riley Stoker, Union Carbide and Western Auto.

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

According to Poss, Ambrose died on Aug. 30, 2005, after battling mesothelioma a little over a month.

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

Poss 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.

As a result of the alleged negligence, Poss claims Ambrose was exposed to fibers containing asbestos and developed a disease caused only by asbestos which disabled and disfigured him.

He also claims that he has sought, but has been unable to obtain, full disclosure of relevant documents and information from the defendants leading him 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.

Poss claims that as a result of each defendant breaching its duty to preserve material evidence by destroying documents and information he 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.

Poss claims that prior to his death his father experienced great pain and mental anguish, became liable for medical expenses and lost large sums of money he otherwise would have earned.

He also claims the family has been deprived of his means and support and also has lost the society of Ambrose Poss.

Poss claims the family spent substantial sums of money for his father's funeral and burial.

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," the complaint states.

Poss is represented by Nicholas Angelides and Brian Cooke of SimmonsCooper in East Alton.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

07 L 768

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