The estate of a Wilmington, Ohio man filed the first asbestos suit of 2008 in Madison County Circuit Court on Jan. 4, claiming 88 defendant corporations caused his death due to mesothelioma.

According to the complaint, Monroe Freeman was employed from 1952 to 1954 as a bellhop at Driskill Hotel, from 1954 to 1957 as a laborer at Joe Hoffman, from 1956 to 1962 as a laborer with various unknown contractors and from 1962 to 1983 as a custodian at the University of Texas at Austin.

The estate claims that during the course of his employment he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed large amounts of asbestos fibers emanating from products he was working with or around that were manufactured, sold, distributed or installed by the defendants.

Freeman's estate claims his exposure to asbestos fibers was completely foreseeable and could or should have been anticipated by the various defendants.

The estate alleges the defendants included asbestos in their products when they knew asbestos fibers would have a highly deleterious effect on the health of people absorbing them, included asbestos in their products when adequate substitutes were available, failed to provide any warnings to people working with or around asbestos and failed to conduct tests on asbestos-containing products in order to determine the hazards to workers.

His estate also claims the defendants intentionally or with a reckless disregard for Freeman's safety:

  • Included asbestos in their products, when the defendants knew or should have known that the asbestos fibers would have a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect upon his health;

  • Included asbestos in their products when adequate substitutions were available;

  • Failed to provide adequate warning to people working with and around the products of the dangers of inhaling, ingesting or otherwise absorbed fibers in them;

  • Failed to provide adequate instruction concerning the safe methods of working with and around asbestos products; and

  • Failed to conduct tests on the asbestos-containing products, manufactured, sold or delivered by the defendants to determine the hazards to which workers might be exposed.

    The estate alleges Freeman was obligated to spend money on medical expenses and experienced great physical pain and mental anguish which prevented him from pursuing his normal course of employment.

    The estate is seeking at least $250,000 in damages for negligence, willful and wanton acts, conspiracy, and negligent spoliation of evidence among other allegations.

    Randy Gori of Edwardsville represents the estate.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

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