BELLEVILLE – A general laborer and his wife are suing over his exposure to asbestos fibers as the alleged cause of his lung cancer.
Robert Welches and Nancy Welches filed the suit Jan. 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Aurora Pump Co., Cooper Industries LLC, General Electric Co., Pneumo Abex LLC, Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., et al., citing negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, conspiracy and other counts.
The plaintiff Robert Welches worked from 1969 to 2000 in various capacities, including laborer, sheet metal worker, machinist and mechanic, the suit states. At various times during the course of his work, the lawsuit states, he was exposed to, inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed large amounts of asbestos fibers emanating from certain products he worked with and which were manufactured, sold, distributed or installed by the defendants.
Further, the suit says, the plaintiff's exposure is attributable to the various defendants and not necessarily throughout the plaintiff's entire career or any particular defendant.
According to the complaint, on Feb. 18, 2015, the plaintiff became aware that he had developed lung cancer, an asbestos-induced disease. The defendants had a duty to exercise reasonable care and caution for the plaintiff and others working around the asbestos-containing products, the suit says.
In addition to willful and wanton misconduct and negligence counts–two of 10 counts against nearly all of the defendants–the suit includes Metropolitan Life for what it alleges is conspiracy. According to the suit, Metropolitan Life knew of the dangers of asbestos for many years, and conspired to hide those findings.
Plaintiff Robert Welches seeks at least $50,000 from each defendant for each charge against them. Plaintiff Nancy Welches is bringing suit for loss of consortium for herself and other family members.
They are represented by Randy L. Gori of Gori, Julian & Associates PC in Edwardsville.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-50