Limitations Challenge on Railroad Worker’s FELA Claim Denied U.S. District Court for Northern District of Illinois, September 9, 2019

ILLINOIS — The plaintiff Theresa Romcoe filed suit under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) against the defendants, Illinois Central Railroad Company and Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation dba Metra Rail, alleging that her husband had passed away from esophageal cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos during the course of his employment. Specifically, the decedent had worked in several positions, including as a switchman to conductor from 1974-1984.  The decedent was diagnosed with cancer on September 5, 2013 and passed on November…
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Denial of Rail Defendant’s Forum Non Conveniens Motion Upheld on Appeal Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division, June 28, 2019

ILLINOIS — The defendant, BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), made an interlocutory appeal of the trial court’s denial of their forum non conveniens motion, seeking transfer from Cook County, Illinois to Knox County, Illinois, in a matter involving brakeman and locomotive engineer, Randall Alley. Alley alleged that his lung cancer was caused in part by unsafe working conditions at BNSF, where he worked for 40 years. He worked on BNSF trains that departed from train yards in Fort Madison, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri for 28…
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Exclusive Remedy Defense Eliminated in Illinois for Latent Injury Claims

ILLINOIS – In 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court held in Folta v. Ferro Engineering, 43 N.E. 3d 108 (2015), that the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Disease Act was the exclusive remedy for state employees who contract mesothelioma, or another latent disease or injury. May 2019 in enacting Illinois SB 1596, the Illinois legislature revoked the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling and amended the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Disease Act to permit civil tort actions by employees against their employers…
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Illinois Passes Bill Lifting 25 Year Statute of Repose for Occupational Disease Lawsuits

ILLINOIS — Senate Bill 1596 passed in the House on Thursday, March 14, and is expected to be signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker in short order. When Governor Pritzker signs the bill, it will take effect immediately. The measure will change provisions of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and Workers’ Occupational Disease that had imposed a 25-year statute of repose for occupational injury and a three-year statute for occupational disease. The measure will effectively overturn Folta v. Ferro Engineering, an Illinois Supreme Court decision…
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On Reversal, Aircraft Manufacturer Successfully Obtains Removal on Federal Officer Grounds United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, December 14, 2018

ILLINOIS – The plaintiffs Bruce and Barbara Betzner (plaintiffs) commenced a lawsuit in Illinois State Court (Madison County) against, among other defendants, Boeing Company (Boeing), alleging that, during the course of the plaintiff Bruce Betzner’s (Mr. Betzner) employment, he was exposed to asbestos-containing products, resulting in his mesothelioma diagnosis. With particular regard to Boeing, the plaintiffs allege that Mr. Betzner’s assembly of heavy bomber aircraft for the United State Air Force, which involved the installation of Boeing components, exposed him to asbestos. Boeing filed a…
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Denial of Judgment Notwithstanding The Verdict Reversed For Welding Rod Defendant Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, September 5, 2018

Illinois — Following a trial in which a jury found that Hobart Brothers Company (Hobart) had failed to warn the plaintiff, Charles McKinney of the dangers of asbestos from its welding rods, Hobart appealed the trial court’s denial of its motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s denial, finding no evidence in the record demonstrating that the welding industry knew in the 1960s that welding rods could release asbestos fibers, or that welding rods were a substantial cause of…
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Summary Judgment on Civil Conspiracy Claims Reversed Appellate Court of Illinois, August 10, 2018

ILLINOIS — The plaintiffs, John and Debra Jones, filed suit against Pneumo Abex LLC (Abex), Owens-Illinois, Inc. (O-I) and others, alleging John suffered from lung cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos while employed in construction. The plaintiffs alleged that Abex entered into a civil conspiracy with Johns-Manville to suppress information about the harmful health effects of asbestos. They asserted the same claim against O-I with regard to an alleged conspiracy with Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation (O-C). The trial court granted summary judgment for the…
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Concrete Factual Information Starts the 30-Day Removal Clock United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division., June 22, 2018

ILLINOIS — In September 2016, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and in September 2017, he filed suit against a defendant, and a number of other parties, alleging his illness was caused by exposure to asbestos. The plaintiff claimed that his exposure occurred between 1970 and 2004 while he was serving in the United States Air Force, working as a commercial airline mechanic, and/or engaging in home remodeling and other activities. The defendant was served with the plaintiff’s complaint on September 21, 2017 and filed…
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Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment on Conspiracy Claims Appellate Court of Illinois, June 19, 2018

ILLINOIS — The plaintiff, James Johnson, was diagnosed with asbestosis after working with insulation products in the construction industry, beginning in 1965. He filed suit against numerous defendants, and included a claim that Pneumo Abex LLC, Owens-Illinois, Inc., Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Honeywell International, Inc. were involved in a civil conspiracy to conceal the dangers of asbestos. The trial court thoroughly reviewed the evidence obtained during discovery and presented at hearings, including the Saranac Study, and determined there was not clear and convincing evidence…
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Dismissal of RICO Suit Against Plaintiffs’ Firms Affirmed Upon a Finding of Lack of Jurisdiction U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, June 4, 2018

ILLINOIS — Plaintiff John Crane Inc. (JCI) brought Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) suits against two plaintiffs’ firms in Illinois alleging the firms conspired to hide evidence related to exposure to other asbestos products throughout discovery in numerous cases. The defendants, the Shein Law Center and Simon Greenstone Pantier Bartlett (Simon), moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. Shein also moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The District Court dismissed for after determining it lacked personal jurisdiction.…
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