Quincy demolition crew fears asbestos exposure will cause cancer

Kelly Holleran Aug. 25, 2010, 1:35am


Four men claim they fear they will develop cancer after they helped demolish a building containing asbestos that they had been told contained none.

Jaime Chier, Mark Uzzetta, John Schilly and Myrna Bomkamp filed a lawsuit Aug. 13 in Madison County Circuit Court against Alter Trading Corp., Environmental Consultants, Midwest Asbestos Abatement Corporation doing business as Midwest Service Group, Envirotech and Talbert Industrial Commercial Services.

The plaintiffs claim they worked for Premier Demolition and began dismantling a structure at 901 South Front St. in Quincy on Aug. 13, 2008. Before the plaintiffs' work began, the defendants inspected the premises and promised it had been cleared of asbestos-containing materials, according to the complaint.

If asbestos remains on the premises when demolition begins, it can cause workers to become exposed to significant amounts of the fibers, the suit states.

"When asbestos fibers from disturbed asbestos-containing materials become airborne, such as during renovations or demolitions, they can be inhaled; the fibers then become lodged in the lung tissues," the complaint says. "Once in the lung tissues, asbestos has been known to cause cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, pleural plaques, and other very serious health conditions in humans."

The plaintiffs claim they now fear such diseases because they became exposed to asbestos fibers when they demolished the Quincy building.
The defendants' representations that the building was asbestos-free were wrong, the plaintiffs say, and as a result, the plaintiffs have been damaged beyond repair, have suffered severe emotional distress, fear, anxiety, aggravation, inconvenience and mental anguish, according to the complaint.

In their 10-count complaint, the plaintiffs allege negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of implied warranty, battery, strict liability, fraudulent misrepresentation, conspiracy and negligent misrepresentation against the defendants.

The plaintiffs say the defendants failed to take appropriate measures to locate asbestos-containing products and to ensure that all asbestos products had been removed from the building, failed to ensure that all workers hired to abate buildings of asbestos were licensed and failed to take appropriate measures to minimize the amount of asbestos fibers that may become airborne by wetting the surfaces.

The plaintiffs seek a judgment of more than $400,000, plus other relief the court deems just. In addition, they seek compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, damages for mental and emotional distress, costs and other relief the court deems just. They also would like to see a reimbursement of medical monitoring tests they incurred and will incur.

Randy L. Gori and Lauren E. Boaz of Gori, Julian and Associates in Edwardsville will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-849.

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