Laborer's estate files asbestos complaint in Madison County

Steve Gonzalez Dec. 13, 2007, 8:00am

The estate of Lawrence J. McTaggart filed an asbestos suit against 48 defendant corporations in Madison County Circuit Court Dec. 11, claiming he was exposed to asbestos while employed as a steamfitter, mechanic, construction worker, laborer and truck driver at various locations in Illinois and Missouri from 1941 to 1981.

The suit brought by his son, Lawrence E. McTaggart, states that Lawrence J. McTaggart resided somewhere in Illinois and was diagnosed with mesothelioma on Oct. 13, 2006. The suit claims the elder McTaggart's exposure to asbestos fibers was completely foreseeable and could or should have been anticipated by the defendants.

Some of the defendants include American Standard, Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, General Motors, John Crane, Owens-Illinois and Young Insulation Group of St. Louis.

McTaggart claims that during the course of his father's employment and during home and automotive repairs he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers emanating from certain products he was working with and around.

"The plaintiff's exposure and inhalation, ingestion or absorption of the asbestos fibers was completely foreseeable and could or should have been anticipated by the defendants," the complaint states.

McTaggart claims the defendants knew 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.

McTaggart alleges that the defendants 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.

He also claims that the defendants failed to require and advise employees of hygiene practices designed to reduce or prevent carrying asbestos fibers home.

As a result of the alleged negligence, McTaggart claims his father was exposed to fibers containing asbestos. He developed a disease caused only by asbestos which has disabled and disfigured him, prior to his death, the complaint states.

McTaggart also claims his father's next-of-kin have been deprived of his means of support and have lost his society in addition to spending substantial sums of money for the funeral and burial.

He also claims his dad suffered "great physical pain and mental anguish which hindered and prevented him from pursuing his normal course of employment, thereby losing large sums of money," the complaint states.

McTaggart also claims that he has sought, but 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.

He claims 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.

Represented by Shane Hampton of SimmonsCooper in East Alton, McTaggart 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 complaint states.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Dan Stack.

07 L 1054

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Ford Motor Company
1 American Rd
Dearborn, MI 48126

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