The number of lawsuits seeking damages of more than $50,000 filed in Madison County declined between 2009 and 2010 by 125 cases.

According to the annual filings report released Thursday by the Madison County Circuit Clerk's office, there were 1,418 suits with damages topping the $50,000 mark filed in 2009. In 2010, there were 1,293 suits filed in the court's Law Division.

Thursday's report did not include a breakdown of how many asbestos, medical malpractice and class action cases were filed in the 1,293 suits of 2010.

A report released earlier this month by the clerk's office provided an unofficial tally of 752 asbestos cases, 15 medical malpractice cases and nine class action cases.

Madison County's low-mark for major lawsuit filings -- in recent years -- came in 1998, when there were 946 suits filed.

The number of lawsuits peaked in 2003 with 2,102 at the height of Madison County's class action boom.

No year since then has come near that mark in terms of the number of filings.

One of the 2010 class actions that has since settled was filed against the owners of the Blimpie sandwiches chain on claims that it advertised double-meat on its sandwiches and didn't deliver.

Notable trials that took place in 2010 included:

  • A defense verdict in favor of Ford Motor Company in a suit over a Chicago man's mesothelioma and his wife's loss of consortium claims in March. Plaintiffs Larry and Meta Williams sought more than $1 million in damages.

  • A more than $3 million verdict won by plaintiffs Thomas and Betty Edwards for injuries Thomas Edwards suffered when a fellow truck driver lost part of his rig on a Missouri highway.

  • A more than $1 million verdict for Guy Webb and his niece Misty Webb against Union Pacific Railroad Company. Guy Webb was injured when he drove his truck onto a set of Missouri train tracks and it was hit by a Union Pacific train. His brother James Webb Jr. was killed in the accident.

  • Dr. James Dalla Riva won a medical malpractice case filed by a former patient Penny Keller. Keller claimed that Dalla Riva was negligent when he performed surgery on her and caused her to develop a bowel condition.

  • 3M Company won a benzene suit filed by aircraft mechanic Veto Kleinaitis. Kleinaitis claimed that years of exposure to benzene traces in 3M products caused him to develop lymphoma.

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    3M Ford Motor Company Union Pacific

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