Seven asbestos suits filed by three firms in one day for claimants in six states

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 13, 2008, 12:23am

Mesothelioma victims from New Hampshire, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan filed asbestos complaints in Madison County Circuit Court March 3, alleging their exposure to asbestos and asbestos fibers caused their illnesses.

In addition to the six mesothelioma complaints, a Tennessee lung cancer victim also filed suit blaming his disease on asbestos.

Three different law firms filed the suits on against a combined 250 defendants which will net Madison County $32,513.50 just in filing fees.

Brent Coon and Associates filed one suit on behalf of the estate of a Tennessee man who died from lung cancer, the Goldenberg Firm in Edwardsville filed one on behalf of an Indiana man and East Alton based SimmonsCooper filed five on behalf of plaintiffs from New Hampshire, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois and Michigan.

Goldenberg's client, Terry Treber, alleges he first became aware he had mesothelioma on Nov. 8.

According to Treber, he was employed from 1960 through 1990 in Illinois, New Mexico, Colorado, Rhode Island, Ohio and Indiana as laborer, fireman, packer boy, machinist and for four months in the United States Navy.

The suit filed by Brent Coon & Associates was on behalf of the estate of O.D. Dampher of Tennessee.

The estate alleges Dampher died from lung cancer on March 4, 2006, after working as a laborer in various locations including Illinois.

SimmonsCooper filed the remaining five suits:

  • The estate of Thomas Whall of New Hampshire claims he worked as an organic chemist at various locations from 1969 through 1987. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on April 1, 2006, and died on Nov. 19, 2006.

  • David Franklin of Texas claims he was diagnosed with mesothelioma on Dec. 3. He claims his father would carry asbestos dust home on his clothing where it would again become airborne.

  • Craig Rice of Michigan he was exposed to asbestos while employed from 1972 to 1996 as an electrician and lathe operator. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on Sept. 1, 2006.

  • Dale Applegate of Illinois claims he was diagnosed with mesothelioma on Feb. 7. He was employed 1973 until 2008 as a laborer, maintenance worker and construction worker in various locations in Illinois.

  • John Ciolek of North Carolina was exposed to asbestos from 1952 until present as a laborer and inspector in various locations including Illinois. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on Jan. 22.

    The plaintiffs also claim they were exposed to asbestos during non-occupational work projects including home and automotive repairs, maintenance and remodeling,

    They claim 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.

    They also allege 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.

    The seven plaintiffs also claim that the defendants failed to require and advise employees of hygiene practices designed to reduce or prevent carrying asbestos fibers home which caused them to develop a disease caused only by asbestos which disabled and disfigured them.

    They further claim that they had sought, but had 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 complaints state.

    The plaintiffs claim as a result of each defendant breaching its duty to preserve material evidence by destroying documents and information they have 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 complaints state.

    They also allege they suffer great physical pain and mental anguish, which hinders and prevents them from pursuing their normal courses of employment, thereby losing large sums of money.

    Each case seeks compensatory damages in excess of $200,000, plus punitive damages 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.

    Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack has been assigned all seven cases.

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