Judge decides Honeywell CEO will not be deposed for asbestos case

Steve Korris Jun. 4, 2010, 10:30am

Honeywell CEO David Cote


BLOOMINGTON- Honeywell chief executive officer David Cote won't have to testify at an asbestos conspiracy trial set to start on June 7, McLean County Circuit Judge Michael Prall ruled on June 2.

Asbestos lawyer James Wylder of Bloomington had called Cote as a witness, but Prall granted a motion to quash his testimony under the Apex doctrine.

The Apex doctrine generally holds that before a plaintiff is permitted to depose a defendant company's high-ranking corporate officer (an "Apex" officer), he must show that the officer actually has genuinely relevant knowledge which is not otherwise available through another witness or other less intrusive discovery.

Prall decided that while the Honeywell CEO would not have to testify, other Honeywell executives Joel Charm, Constance Hanna and Evan Van Hook would.

Plaintiffs Larry Dunham and Norman Shoopman seek damages from Honeywell as successor to automobile brake maker Bendix.

They also seek damages from Pneumo Abex and Owens Illinois, for allegedly conspiring with Bendix and others to conceal the hazards of asbestos.

Shoopman and Dunham suffer from mesothelioma, according to Wylder.

Dunham was a firefighter in Springfield. Shoopman was a teacher in Bloomington.

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