Elaine Barton of Rhode Island filed an asbestos suit against 51 defendant corporations in Madison County Circuit Court Nov. 28 alleging her late husband's exposure to asbestos caused his death.

Barton's husband, Robert Barton, was employed in the U.S. Navy from 1944-46, as a metallurgist and maintenance man for New England Malleable Iron Foundry in Warrick Rhode Island from 1946-81, and as a carpenter, drywaller and floor tiler at various residential sites in Rhode Island from 1957-76.

Barton claims that during the course of Robert's employment and during home and automotive repairs he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers emanating from certain products he was working with and around causing him to contract mesothelioma.

"The defendants knew of or should have known that the asbestos fibers contained in their products had a toxic, poisonous, and highly deleterious effect upon the health of people inhaling, ingesting, or otherwise absorbing them," the complaint states.

Barton alleges the defendants are guilty of willful and wanton misconduct. She claims prior to Robert's death, he had to undergo costly medical treatment and that he suffered great physical pain and mental anguish as a result of his asbestos exposure.

She also alleges that the defendants included asbestos in their products even when adequate substitutes were available and failed to provide any or adequate instructions concerning the safe methods of working with and around asbestos.

Barton claims that the defendants failed to require and advise employees of hygiene practices designed to reduce or prevent carrying asbestos fibers home.

Barton also claims that she has sought, but has been unable to obtain, full disclosure of relevant documents and information from the defendants leading him to believe the defendants destroyed documents related to asbestos.

She claims that as a result of each defendant breaching its duty to preserve material evidence by destroying documents and information she has been prejudiced and impaired in proving claims against all potential parties.

Barton also claims she became liable for her husband's funeral and burial expenses and has been deprived of his means and support.

Represented by Randy Gori of Edwardsville, Barton is seeking damages in excess of $500,000, plus costs of the suit.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

07 L 1004

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