The estate of an Illinois woman who died from mesothelioma filed an asbestos suit in Madison County Circuit Court March 26, claiming her disease was wrongfully caused.
According to the complaint, Geraldine James was employed from 1973 to 1997 as a secretary and school monitor at various locations throughout Illinois.
James' estate claims that during the course of her employment and during home and automotive repairs she was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers emanating from certain products she was working with and around.
The estate names 45 defendant corporations that include Bondex International, Garlock, Georgia-Pacific, John Crane, Owens-Illinois, Pneumo Abex, RPM International, RPM Inc. and Young Insulation Group.
Her estate claims the defendants knew 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.
According to James' estate, she first became aware that she suffered from mesothelioma on Nov. 7.
Her estate 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.
It also claims that the defendants failed to require and advise employees of hygiene practices designed to reduce or prevent carrying asbestos fibers home.
As a result of the alleged negligence, the estate claims James was exposed to fibers containing asbestos and developed a disease caused only by asbestos which disabled and disfigured her.
The estate claims that prior to her death, James suffered great physical pain and mental anguish, and also was hindered and prevented from pursuing her normal course of employment, thereby losing large sums of money.
The estate is seeking at least $300,000 in damages for negligence and willful and wanton conduct.
"In addition to compensatory damages, an award of punitive damages is appropriate and necessary in order to punish the defendants for willful, wanton, intentional and reckless misconduct and to deter them and others from engaging in like misconduct in the future," the complaint states.
James' estate is represented by John Barnerd, Christopher Guinn and Perry Browder of SimmonsCooper in East Alton.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Court Judge Daniel Stack.
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