Colorado woman files asbestos complaint in Madison County

Steve Gonzalez Jul. 28, 2008, 5:23am

A Colorado woman suffering from mesothelioma filed an asbestos suit in Madison County.

Joann Dennett claims she was employed from 1958 to 2008 in various positions at several locations throughout the United States.

In papers filed in Madison County Circuit Court on July 23, Dennett claims during the course of her employment and during home and automotive repairs she was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers from certain products.

She names 73 defendant corporations, which include Bondex International, CBS, Chrysler, Federal-Mogul Asbestos Personal Trust, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, General Motors, Goodyear, Honeywell International, Ingersoll-Rand, International Paper, John Crane, MetLife, Monsanto, Pfizer, Philips Electronics and Trane US.

"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.

Dennett claims the defendants knew or should have known that the asbestos fibers in their products had a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect upon the health of people.

According to Dennett, she first became aware that he suffered from mesothelioma Aug. 12, 2007.

Dennett 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.

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

She seeks damages to help pay for the cost of her treatment.

Dennett also suffers "great physical pain and mental anguish, and also will be hindered and prevented from pursuing her normal course of employment, thereby losing large sums of money," the complaint states.

Dennett 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.

Dennett alleges 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.

Dennett is seeking at least $200,000 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.

Dennett is represented by Brian Cooke and Drew Sealy of SimmonsCooper in East Alton.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Court Judge Daniel Stack.

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