CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Former drywall maker Kaiser Gypsum sank into bankruptcy under the weight of 13,967 asbestos suits including 1,498 in Illinois.
It faced 705 suits from Gori Julian of Edwardsville, 608 of them in Illinois.
It faced 728 suits from Napoli Shkolnik of New York City, 320 of them in Illinois.
Kaiser Gypsum’s list of pending cases doesn’t specify counties, but case numbers and firm names connect most of the Illinois action to Madison County.
Kaiser’s Gypsum’s list of 30 firms with “the largest number or scope” of asbestos claims includes eight firms active in the county.
Some firms active in the county made the list with fewer cases than firms that didn’t make the list, indicating a broader scope for the county’s cases.
That means Madison County’s share of total cases, 11 percent, doesn’t begin to measure Madison County’s share of the impact on Kaiser Gypsum.
Goldenberg Heller of Edwardsville made the list of the top 30 firms with a mere 28 cases, a fifth of a percent of the nationwide total.
Maune Raichle of St. Louis made the list with 40 Illinois cases and seven others.
Simmons Hanly Conroy of East Alton made the list with 64 Illinois cases and 21 others.
Flint and Associates of Glen Carbon made the list with 69 Illinois cases and 18 in Missouri.
Shrader and Associates, a Texas firm with an office in Glen Carbon, made the list with 96 Illinois cases and two others.
SWMK of St. Louis made the list with 128 cases in Illinois and 42 in Missouri.
Madison County associate judge Donald Flack didn’t make the list of the top 30 firms, but 27 cases bear the name of his former firm.
Flack’s statement of economic interest at the Illinois Supreme Court shows he continues to earn fees from asbestos cases.
Kaiser Gypsum listed 35 cases from Robert Perica of Wood River, who took charge of Flack’s cases when circuit judges hired Flack as associate judge.
Nationwide, three firms accounted for 64 percent of cases against Kaiser Gypsum.
Kaiser Gypsum listed 4,352 cases from Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles baseball club.
Kaiser Gypsum listed 2,855 cases from Ferraro and Associates of Miami, and 1,769 from Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer of New York City.
Kaiser Gypsum ceased to make anything or employ anyone years ago, persisting only as a purse full of cash for asbestos settlements and verdicts.
Prior to bankruptcy, it resolved about 32,000 asbestos suits.