Jurors in McLean County asbestos trial deadlocked; Judge declares mistrial

Steve Korris Jul. 19, 2010, 8:00am



BLOOMINGTON – Two mesothelioma sufferers fell short of a unanimous jury verdict on their claim that a conspiracy among corporations caused their disease.

Jurors rejected a theory that lawyers for Larry Dunham and Norman Shoopman laid out for six weeks before McLean County Circuit Judge Michael Prall.

After three days of deliberation, jurors declared they could not and would not reach a unanimous decision.

Circuit Judge Scott Drazewski, substituting for Prall during deliberations, announced a mistrial at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 16.

Dunham and Shoopman claimed Pneumo Abex, Honeywell, Owens-Illinois, John Crane Inc. and other companies conspired for decades to conceal the hazards of asbestos.

Pneumo Abex stood trial as successor to American Brake and Block, and Honeywell stood as successor to Bendix.

The mistrial breaks a string of successes for local conspiracy lawyers James Wylder and Lisa Corwin and their star witness, Barry Castleman.

Earlier this year, jurors awarded almost $4 million each against Pneumo Abex and Honeywell, plus $10 million in punitive damages against Honeywell.

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