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 from 2015 that time-barred a worker from bringing a lawsuit against a former employer 41 years after he worked for the business.

The potential new law will have a broad impact on asbestos and toxic tort litigation in Illinois.