Defendant in benzene case files motion to dismiss; Says plaintiff has no connection to Madison County

Christina Stueve Mar. 14, 2012, 4:42am

Patton Jr.

Defendant Turner Industries Group on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss a Madison County benzene suit, claiming that, among other things, the plaintiff has no connection to the county or Illinois.

Ricky and Jerry Marshall of Mississippi filed a lawsuit Nov. 14 against more than 60 defendant companies.

Ricky Marshall worked as a pipefitter from 1970 until 2008 when he was allegedly exposed to benzene and benzene-containing products, according to his complaint.

Because of his exposure, he developed acute myelogenous leukemia and was diagnosed with the cancer Sept. 5, 2011, the suit states.

John Patton Jr., attorney for Turner Industries Group, wrote that Marshall sets forth blanket allegations that he was exposed to fumes emanating from benzene-containing materials as a result of Turner's conduct, but without providing specific facts.

The complaint also does not set forth that Marshall has ever been a resident of Illinois or Madison County, Patton wrote.

Patton wrote the majority of parties in the case, including plaintiffs, are in states other than Illinois.

"Balancing the private factors with public factors, it appears there is a lack of connection with Madison County, Illinois such that this matter must be dismissed or transferred to a jurisdiction that has connections to parties and subject matter," Patton wrote.

The Marshalls on Monday requested Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth to grant them a protective order, limiting defendants to standard written discovery requests.

The Marshalls stated through attorney Jill Price that the defense served them with at least 10 requests to produce information.

Price wrote, "Many of these interrogatories are duplicative but cannot be answered in a template format as their organization and order are not consistent between defendants.

"The Illinois Supreme Court rule allows the court to limit such requests in order to prevent discovery abuse, undue burden and the use of dilatory tactics."

A hearing will be held March 27 for the plaintiff's motion for a protective order and Turner Industries' motion to dismiss the plaintiff's first amended complaint.

Another defendant, Wyatt Field Service Company, provided a notice that it would request a hearing for its motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction on March 27.

In other action:

- Defendant Radiator Specialty on March 1 requested Ruth to find that its settlement with the plaintiff was made in good faith.

- Ruth on Feb. 29 ordered Marshall's deposition to be reset for April 24 and 25. "However, if the plaintiff's disease relapses, the deposition will be taken as soon as is practical," he wrote.

- Defendant Sherwin-Williams filed a stipulation for dismissal on Feb. 29 between the plaintiff and Sherwin-Williams that it should be dismissed from the case.

- Valspar Corp. on Feb. 28 stated in a motion to dismiss that the plaintiffs' failure to identify any Valspar product or exposure to such product cannot establish the required link to support claims against it. Valspar also claims the plaintiffs failed to allege facts to support exposure.

- Defendant CRC Industries filed an amended motion to dismiss on the basis of forum non conveniens.

- Defendant Kano Laboratories through its attorneys Foley & Mansfield filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff's first amended complaint on Feb. 23.

- Charles Joley, Kenneth Nussbaumer and Oliver Dickerson of Joley, Nussbaumer, Oliver, Dickerson & Beasley on Feb. 28 filed an appearance for The Valspar Corporation.

Kent Plotner and Jeffrey Bash represent Radiator Specialty Company.

Douglas Nieder represents Wyatt Field Service Company.

Richard L. Saville Jr., Ethan A. Flint, Andrew J. Balcer, Joseph Whyte, Jill Price and Eric Jackstadt of Saville and Flint in Glen Carbon represent the plaintiffs.

Raymond Bell and the law firm of Foley & Mansfield represents defendant Kano Laboratories.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-1211.

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