BELLEVILLE — A man has filed suit claiming products containing asbestos caused his mesothelioma, and his wife is claiming she was exposed to asbestos fibers on her husband’s clothes. Both allege that multiple defendants are liable for the damages and that they conspired to withhold information about the dangers of asbestos exposure.
Carolyn and Harold Walquist filed suit on Feb. 24 in the St. Clair County Circuit Court. The 51 named defendants include Advance Auto Parts, General Electric, Georgia Pacific, John Deere Company and Union Carbide Corporation.
The complaint does not indicate where the Walquists reside.
Harold and Carolyn Walquist married in 1965. Harold Walquist is described in the complaint as a “shade tree mechanic.” Harold also did construction work in 1977 during the building of their home.
Carolyn Walquist also did remodeling work, automotive repairs and maintenance. She laundered her husband’s clothes. According to the complaint, she “was exposed to and inhaled asbestos fibers and/or asbestiform fibers emanating from certain products he was working with and around which were manufactured, sold, distributed or installed by Defendants.”
In January 2017, Harold was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. The cause was exposure to asbestos fibers in the products of the named defendants, he claims.
Carolyn Walquist also claims that the defendants conspired against them and, as stated in the complaint, “committed wrongs ... by willfully misrepresenting and suppressing the truth as to the risks and dangers associated with the use of and exposure to Defendants’ asbestos-containing products and/or machinery requiring or calling for the use of asbestos and/or asbestos-containing products.”
The complaint also alleges the defendants Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Honeywell International Inc. and Pneumo Abex Corporation established industry standards regarding asbestos which they knew were misrepresenting the medical dangers.
It also alleges defendants withheld or misrepresented the dangers of asbestos exposure.
“Defendants individually, and as members of a conspiracy, and as agents of other co-conspirators were in a position of superior knowledge regarding the health hazards of asbestos and therefore the Plaintiff and others deciding to use asbestos-containing products to which Plaintiff was exposed had a right to rely and did rely on the published reports commissioned by the Defendants regarding the health hazards of asbestos and absence of published medical and scientific data regarding the hazards of asbestos and asbestos-containing products and/or machinery requiring or calling for the use of asbestos and/or asbestos-containing products,” the complaint says.
Plaintiffs also allege negligent spoliation of evidence because records and documents relating to the issues in this case were destroyed.
The plaintiffs are being represented by Flint Law Firm LLC in Glen Carbon.