Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Asbestos filings at mid-year are up overall; Biggest gains in Madison, St. Clair and St. Louis


By Ann Maher | Aug 21, 2019

Gori and Simmons

An uptick in asbestos filings through June 30 in courts across the country is being reported by Washington-based consulting group KCIC.

While the nation's top 10 jurisdictions have seen an overall 5 percent increase compared to the same period in 2018, three asbestos hot spots - Madison County, St. Clair County and St. Louis City - are reporting big spikes in new cases.

Filings in Madison County, which remains the largest asbestos docket in the country, climbed by 10 percent. As of June 30, a total of 582 cases were filed compared to 535 in 2018.

In adjoining St. Clair County, ranked as the second busiest jurisdiction, filings increased by 30 percent over 2018, with a total of 202 cases at mid-year compared to 155 in 2018.

And in St. Louis City Circuit Court, ranked as the fourth largest docket, mid-year filings show an increase of 75 percent, at 117, over last year at 67.

By contrast, KCIC's 2018 mid-year report showed an overall 14 percent decline compared to the previous year. By year's end in 2018, the number of new asbestos filings decreased overall by 11 percent compared to 2017.

KCIC's report, which bases its findings on cases it has received through July 31, recorded 2,044 new asbestos cases at mid-year, compared to 1,941 in the same period last year.

It found that mesothelioma cases increased by 4.5 percent over last year - 1,035 compared to 990; lung cancer cases increased by 28 percent - 690 compared to 539 and that "other" cancers were flat at 47 this mid-year and last.

Edwardsville-based Gori Julian firm remains the top filer in the nation with 348 cases at mid-year compared to 306 mid-year in 2018, representing a 13.7 percent increase; Alton-based Simmons firm was at second with 272 filings up from 207, representing a 31.4 percent increase.

Most other top 10 firms had fewer filings at mid-year, the exceptions being fifth ranked St. Louis-based SWMW Law with 95 new filings at mid-year compared to 61 last year, up 55.7 percent and tenth ranked New York-based Karst & Von Oiste with 29 new cases compared to 14 last year, up 107.1 percent.

Other firms by ranking in the top 10:

Third - New York-based Weitz & Luxenberg - 203 at mid-year compared to 209 last year, down 2.9 percent;

Fourth - St. Louis-based Maune Raichle - 127 at mid-yeard compared to 132 last year, down 3.8 percent;

Sixth - Baltimore-based Peter G. Angelos - 83 at mid-year compared to 174 last year, down 52.3 percent;

Seventh - Chicago-based Cooney & Conway - 82 at mid-year compared to 91 last year, down 9.9 percent;

Eigth - Pittsburgh-based Goldberg Persky & White - 68 at mid-year compared to 79 last year, down 13.9 percent; and

Ninth - New York-based Belluck & Fox - 32 at mid-year compared to 46 last year, down 30.4 percent.

"So far in 2019 it seems that the downward trend in filings may be waning, so it will be interesting to see how filings progress over the second half of 2019," wrote the report's author Megan Shockley.  

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