By the time asbestos attorneys whittled a jury from a pool of 53 to 14, the case settled at 10:02 a.m. Wednesday in Madison County Associate Judge Clarence Harrison's courtroom.
"I don't have any idea" what the settlement was, Harrison said, while signing the jurors' certificates in his office. "I didn't wait around to hear anything other than it was resolved."
Opening statements were expected to start Wednesday morning in a case brought by Robert Kreimer and his wife, Margie Kreimer, of Cleves, Ohio. The couple sued 66 corporate defendants in November 2010, and all but two defendants - mechanical seal manufacturer John Crane Co. and metal valve maker Crane Co. - had settled or had been dismissed prior to the beginning of jury selection on Monday.
Robert Kreimer claimed he suffered from mesothelioma.
His lawyer Douglas D. von Oiste said told the jury Tuesday during voir dire his client was born in 1935, making him 76 or 77 years of age.
"The best outcome is for the parties to reach an agreement. Even though the parties were ready for a trial, the best outcome is when they reach an agreement," Harrison said
Kreimer was a pipefitter from 1956-1986 for various contractors, including Johnson Controls, Robert Shaw, EJ Nolan, M.W. Kellogg Piping, Bechtel, Combustion Engineering, Babcock & Wilcox and Kaiser Engineering and various industrial and commercial job sites in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, his suit states.
Von Oiste initiated a series of questions Tuesday in the 2010 lawsuit filed by local asbestos firm Gori and Julian of Edwardsville.
Ed Burns and Ben Pucchi of O'Connell, Tivin, Miller & Burns in Chicago represented John Crane Co. Clifford Hutchinson of K & L Gates in Dallas and Nicole Behnen of Polsinelli & Shughart in Edwardsville represented Crane Co.
The lawsuit states that the plaintiff's exposure to asbestos fibers should have been anticipated by the defendants. The lawsuit also states that defendants agreed and "conspired among themselves" and with other asbestos manufacturers, distributors, and trade organizations, to injure the plaintiff.
Randy Gori of Gori Julian and Associates requested an admission of counsel, Sept. 7 for von Oiste.
According to his web site, von Oiste, a partner at Karst & von Oiste, has more than $170 million in jury verdicts, including $110 million in Powers vs. A.O. Smith Corporation; $36 million in Martin vs. Robert Keasbey Corporation; $18.5 million in Penn vs. Kerr Corporation; and $5 million in Wallace vs. York Corporation. He has worked exclusively with asbestos litigation throughout his career, his site claims.
The case is Madison County case number 10-L-1256.