Madison County asbestos trial ends abruptly with settlement

Steve Gonzalez Nov. 8, 2007, 7:00am

Jeff Hebrank

Randy Gori

Madison County's third asbestos trial in 45 days abruptly settled after a jury was empaneled to hear plaintiff Gilbert Carrizales' suit.

Represented by Randy Gori of Edwardsville, Carrizales, a Madison County resident, sued 13 days after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. On March 15 he filed against 105 defendants, however the trial was narrowed down to targets Georgia Pacific and John Crane.

Gori and Georgia Pacific's attorney, Jeff Hebrank, spent the last two days picking a jury to hear the case. But shortly before opening arguments were scheduled to begin Thursday it was announced that a settlement had been reached in the case.

In addition to asbestos exposures during his long career, Carrizales also alleged he was exposed to asbestos during non-occupational work projects including home and automotive repairs, maintenance and remodeling.

He alleged that Georgia-Pacific and John Crane included asbestos in their products even when adequate substitutes were available and failed to provide any or adequate instructions concerning the safe methods of working with and around asbestos.

Carrizales alleged the defendants are guilty of willful and wanton misconduct. He claims he has had to undergo costly medical treatment and that he suffers great physical pain and mental anguish as a result of his asbestos exposure.

Over the past several years, Georgia Pacific has done very well in defending asbestos cases in Madison County.

In two separate trials in 2005 and 2006, Georgia Pacific was granted defense verdicts

Attorney Mark "Moose" Phillips of Nelson Mullins in South Carolina assisted Hebrank in those trials.

Several weeks ago, Georgia Pacific settled a case for a nominal amount right before closing arguments in Chester Black's trial.

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack presided over the voir dire portion of jury examination.

If the trial were to have advanced past that point, Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder would have presided.

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