Category Archives: Illinois

Applying Maritime Law, Plaintiff Unable to Provide Sufficient Evidence Linking Decedent to Any John Crane Product U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, November 24, 2015

In this federal court case it was alleged that the decedent, Richard Bell, was exposed to asbestos while serving on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1960-64.  Defendant John Crane Inc. moved for summary judgment, arguing that maritime law applies and the plaintiff’s evidence fails to prove that decedent was exposed to any of its asbestos-containing products or that the products were a substantial factor in decedent’s lung cancer. The plaintiff did not oppose the application of maritime law.  The court spelled out that for…

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Federal Court Grants Remand to Madison County Based on Plaintiff’s Waiver of Any Claims Related to His Military Service U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, November 23, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff originally filed the action in the Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Illinois alleging exposure to asbestos as an aircraft mechanic, helicopter mechanic, and laborer at various locations throughout the United States between 1958 and 2006. The plaintiff’s work on helicopters was while he served in the U.S. Army.  Defendant Boeing removed the case to federal court based on the federal officer removal statute. The plaintiff moved for a remand based on his previously filed waiver of all claims related to…

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Illinois Supreme Court Rules Workers’ Compensation Is Employees’ Exclusive Remedy for Asbestos Claims Against Employers, Even if Workers’ Compensation Claim is Time-Barred Illinois Supreme Court, November 4, 2015

The plaintiff was employed by Ferro Engineering for four years, and alleged that during this time he was exposed to products containing asbestos. Forty-one years after this employment he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and sued Ferro under several theories including negligence. Ferro filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act (820 ILCS 305/5(a), 11 (West 2010)) and the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act (820 ILCS 310/5(a), 11 (West 2010)).  The plaintiff replied that…

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Case Remanded Based on Dismissal and Settlement of Defendants with Federal Defenses U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, October 20, 2015

This case was originally filed in the Third Judicial Circuit in Madison County. The defendant, Crane Co., removed based on the Federal Officer Removal Statute 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1) and defendant General Electric Company (GE) joined in. The plaintiff moved to remand the case and GE was the only defendant to oppose. Prior to the court rendering a decision, GE was dismissed from the case and Crane settled. CBS Corporation then filed a notice of joinder or removal, which the court found untimely. The court granted…

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Wife’s Testimony on Decedent’s Use of Brake Product and Expert Causation Testimony Held Sufficient to Defeat Summary Judgment U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, October 2, 2015

In this federal court case, decedent Richard Bell alleged exposure to asbestos while performing car maintenance from 1964 through the late 1970s. Defendant Honeywell, as successor of Bendix, moved for summary judgment, arguing that the decedent’s wife’s deposition testimony that the decedent used Bendix brakes with the word “asbestos” on the packaging was hearsay; that the testimony could not be used against it to oppose summary judgment since it was taken prior to Honeywell becoming a party; and that the plaintiff failed to show the…

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Defendant Establishes Colorable Defense Under Federal Law, Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand Denied U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, September 28, 2015

The plaintiff filed this action in Madison County, Illinois, alleging injury due to asbestos exposure. The defendants, CBS and General Electric, removed the action to federal court under federal officer removal statute 28 U.S.C. 1442. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand, which the court denied. The court cited the United States Supreme Court in listing the three elements required to establish a colorable defense to the use-of-asbestos claim: (1) the United States approved reasonably precise specifications; (2) the equipment conformed to those specifications; (3)…

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Applying Maritime Law, Defendants’ Summary Judgment Motions Denied in Case Alleging U.S. Navy Exposure U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, September 23, 2015

The plaintiff alleged he developed severe asbestosis as a result of inhaling asbestos while serving in the United States Navy. Three defendants — John Crane, General Electric, and Ingersoll-Rand — moved for summary judgment. In deciding the motion, the court determined whether maritime or Illinois law applied. A plaintiff’s exposure in a products liability claim must meet both a locality test and a connection test in order to apply maritime law. The locality test analyzes whether the tort occurred on navigable water, or, if the…

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Defendants’ Motion in Limine To Exclude Expert Testimony on “Each and Every Exposure” Opinion Denied Based on Federal and Illinois Law U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, September 21, 2015

Various defendants filed a motion in limine to exclude the testimony of Matthew A. Vuskovich, M.D., M.S.P.H., arguing that he does not satisfy the requirements for expert testimony outlined in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). Specifically, defendants sought to exclude his opinions based on the “every exposure” theory, because it is not accepted by the scientific community or the courts. The court denied the motion, as Federal Rule of Evidence 702 allowed for the theoretical basis for Dr. Vuskovich’s…

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Preclusion of Plaintiff’s Expert Witness and Defendant’s Investigation of Juror Do Not Warrant New Trial U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, August 25, 2015

In this federal case, the plaintiff, Charles Krik, sued Owens-Illinois and ExxonMobil and claimed they negligently exposed him to asbestos, causing his lung cancer. The case went to trial and a verdict was returned in favor of the defendants as the jury found that the plaintiff’s smoking was the sole cause of his lung cancer. The plaintiff subsequently moved for a new trial, arguing that the exclusion of his expert was in error and prejudicial and that Mobil’s investigation of contact between the plaintiff and…

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Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Verdict Based on Defendant Being Precluded from Introducing Alternative Exposure Evidence Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, July 30, 2015

In this Illinois case, the plaintiff claimed at that he was exposed to asbestos at property owned by the defendant. At trial, the defendant sought to introduce into evidence other substantial asbestos exposure at a different unrelated facility. The defendant’s argument was that the other, more substantial exposure was the sole proximate cause of the plaintiff’s asbestosis, not the minimal asbestos exposure at defendant’s facility. After a lengthy discussion of Illinois’ case law on proximate cause and burden, the appellate court decided the trial court…

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