Opening arguments are set to begin today in a carpenter’s 2012 asbestos lawsuit against Georgia Pacific before Madison County Associate Judge Steve Stobbs.

According to the complaint filed on Dec. 21, 2012, plaintiff James Reef claims his exposure to and inhalation of asbestos fibers “emanating from certain products he was working with and around" caused him to develop mesothelioma. He blames Georgia Pacific for manufacturing, marketing, supplying and distributing asbestos-containing products, including joint compound and joint treatment systems.

Reef alleges he was exposed to drywall, sheetrock, ready mix and joint compound containing asbestos, which he regularly purchased from Georgia Pacific. He estimates he’s used several thousand sheets of drywall from the defendant over the course of his career, picking up the products from Georgia Pacific’s facility in Wichita, Kan., more than 50 times.

Reef is represented by Ethan A. Flint, Andrew J. Balcer and Carson C. Menges of Glen Carbon.

Georgia Pacific is represented by attorney Jeff Hebrank.

Stobbs has presided over the asbestos docket for less than two weeks. He was assigned to asbestos Oct. 28 after Associate Judge Clarence Harrison - asbestos judge since December 2011 - was reassigned to Family Court.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 2069

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