Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, October 14, 2019

Union Carbide seeks to dismiss 46 asbestos cases for want of prosecution; Flack was original plaintiff attorney in 30

By Record News | Jul 27, 2016

In five months before Donald Flack took the robe of a Madison County associate judge, he filed 30 asbestos suits in the circuit court.

He filed his last one on May 16, 2012, approximately 20 days after his appointment and 10 days before his first day on the bench.

At least three of the cases were filed after the court announced Flack was selected for the associate bench.

In 29 of the 30 cases, Flack filed notices of attorney's lien at the time they were filed.

Bob Perica of Wood River entered appearances in all 30 of the suits, but withdrew in all of them on Feb. 21, 2014, at which time the Napoli Shkolnik firm based in New York City entered appearances for all 30 plaintiffs.

Some of the plaintiffs are Illinoisans, but none are from Madison County. All claimants' illnesses are lung cancer-related.

Napoli hasn’t pursued the suits, however, and Union Carbide has moved to dismiss them for want of prosecution.

Union Carbide counsel Charles Anderson filed the motion on July 22, seeking to dismiss all 30 suits plus 16 other Napoli suits that Flack didn’t file.

Associate Judge Stephen Stobbs, who presides over the asbestos docket, has set all 46 suits for trials on Oct. 3.

Anderson wrote in his motion that, “Plaintiffs’ counsel has ignored multiple deadlines and requirements in the standing order, despite having four years to prosecute the case.”

“None of the above captioned cases are even remotely ready for trial on October 3," he wrote.

He wrote that plaintiffs had not tendered any product identification or exposure witnesses for deposition.

“In fact, plaintiffs’ counsel has not even disclosed a fact witness list in 42 of the above captioned cases,” he wrote.

He wrote that 26 plaintiffs had not answered standard asbestos interrogatories or standard asbestos requests for production.

He wrote that 24 plaintiffs had not disclosed case specific experts.

Stobbs plans to hear the motion on Wednesday, Aug. 3, at 9 a.m.

Flack was sworn into office on May 25, 2012. He was picked by elected Third Judicial Circuit judges to fill the unexpired four-year term of associate judge Nelson Metz, who retired on April 6, 2012.

In 2015, Flack was among five associate judges in the Third Judicial Circuit who were not re-appointed by the court's circuit judges. He re-applied, and got his job back.

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