Manufacturer wants asbestos case dismissed

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 30, 2008, 5:57am

A manufacturer of commercial valves and pumps for water treatment wants a Madison County asbestos case dismissed.

Crane Co. has filed a motion to dismiss an asbestos suit filed by the estate of Martin Butt, arguing the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

According to Crane, in order to plead willful and wanton conduct sufficiently, a plaintiff must allege either a course of action that shows actual or deliberate harm that shows an utter indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety or property of others.

"Here, Plaintiff alleges a legal conclusion without factual allegations indicating in what way this Defendant acted with intent or with utter indifference," the motion states. "Plaintiff simply states the words 'intentionally' and reckless disregard' without a single fact to support the claim."

Butt's estate filed suit Aug. 11, against 70 defendant corporations, alleging prior to his death he was exposed to and inhaled asbestos fibers which led to the development of mesothelioma, which caused his death on Jan. 6, 2007.

The estate alleges Butt, an Illinois resident, was employed from 1960 to 2002 as a mechanic flag man, machinist apprentice and machinist at various locations throughout Illinois and Missouri.

John Barnerd of SimmonsCooper in East Alton represents the estate.

If Judge Daniel Stack refused to dismiss the complaint, Crane is also asking him to dismiss it on the grounds of forum non conveniens.

"The plaintiff has not alleged any facts which would support his burden to establish that venue of this case is proper in the Circuit Court of Madison County," the motion states.

Crane wants Stack to enter an order dismissing or transferring the case to a venue which has more contacts since the estate failed to allege any facts that demonstrate Madison County is a proper venue.

Crane also filed their affirmative defenses in the case.

According to Crane, Butt contributed to the cause of his injuries because he improperly used or handled asbestos containing products.

In addition, Crane argues Butt failed to take proper precautions for his own safety when he used or handled asbestos products and continued to use and handle asbestos products when he should have known of the condition, properties and effects of those products.

Tamika Steele of Gunty & McCarthy in Chicago represents Crane.

Stack has yet to schedule a hearing date for the motion.

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