The number of new asbestos cases filed in Madison County in the first half of 2009 is on pace to surpass last year's total.

As of June 19, there have been 369 asbestos claims filed in Madison County. In 2008, there was a total of 639.

Most Madison County asbestos claimants are from out of state. Most cases are brought by SimmonsCooper of East Alton or Gori, Julian and Associates of Alton.

In one week alone, June 8-12, there were 29 new cases filed.

Several of those were brought by an attorney who had not recently filed asbestos cases in Madison County, the wife of U.S. District Judge Patrick Murphy.

Patricia S. Murphy of Energy filed eight new claims on behalf of former oil workers – Illinois residents – claiming asbestosis. The suits name oil and drilling companies.

After reaching a peak in 2003, at 953 cases, the number of new asbestos claims filed in Madison County steadily declined, until 2007.

In 2007, 455 asbestos suits were filed. In 2008, the number increased again, to 639.

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack presides over the asbestos docket.

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