Shannon Cunnginham and Ann Maher Jul. 17, 2015, 10:13am


Asbestos filings in Madison County through June 30 are down by 9 percent compared to the same period last year.

A total of 588 new asbestos lawsuits were filed in the first half of 2015, compared to a total of 656 that were filed in the first half of 2014.

If the pace of filings stays consistent through the end of the year, the county's asbestos docket - the largest in the country - will have scaled back for the second year in a row.

In 2014, a total of 1,300 cases were filed, which was down from the record-setting number of 1,678 filed in 2013.

And while there have been notably fewer cases added to Madison County's docket, there also are fewer local plaintiffs bringing the suits.

Only three plaintiffs in the 588 new cases are from Madison County, or half of 1 percent, and just 31 of them were Illinoisans, or five percent of the total.

By contrast, 1.7 percent of last year's 1,300 plaintiffs were from Madison County and 9 percent were Illinoisans.

In other findings, the vast majority of the claims - 483 - were made on behalf of persons suffering from mesothelioma. Lung cancer cases totaled 41; pleural mesothelioma cases totaled 22; peritoneal mesothelioma cases totaled four; asbestosis cases totaled two; colon cancer was listed in one case. In 35 cases, the cause of illness could not be determined.

Two local firms filed more than half of the total.

The Simmons firm of Alton brought the most, as it typically does, having filed 183 cases, or 31 percent of the total. Gori and Julian of Edwardsville filed 139 cases, or 24 percent of the total.

While the number of new cases in Madison County are down, they are still statistically high.

In years past, records show there were 325 cases filed in 2006; 455 cases in 2007; 659 cases in 2008; 814 in 2009; 752 in 2010; 953 in 2011, 1,563 in 2012, 1,678 in 2013 and 1,300 in 2014.

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