Illinois Appeals Court Upholds Alabama Mesothelioma Victim’s Right to File Lawsuit

Thumbnail image for iStock-460053679.jpgA three-justice panel of the Illinois First District Appellate Court recently reversed a Cook County judge’s decision to boot a lawsuit brought by an Alabama family on behalf of their deceased father claiming the victim developed mesothelioma while working in the state. The ruling is a huge victory not only for this particular plaintiff but other asbestos cancer victims attempting to hold wrongdoers accountable and recover compensation for all damages incurred.

The lower court originally made its ruling in December of 2015 in favor of the defendant, Kansas City-based drywall joint compound manufacturer Welco Manufacturing, holding that the plaintiff had not resided long enough in the state to bring the claim. The plaintiffs asserted their deceased relative worked on over 50 job sites over the course of three to four months in 1965, during which time he was exposed to deadly asbestos fibers in the defendant’s drywall compound products.

The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in in Cook County Circuit Court in 2014 against several defendants including Welco Manufacturing, taking the claim all the way to trial before a jury. Leading up to trial, the plaintiffs settled their lawsuit with all of the named defendants except Welco. During trial, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate a clear link between asbestos exposure from the defendant’s product while in Illinois and the victim developing mesothelioma.

Appeals Send Asbestos Cancer Lawsuit Back to Lower Court for Trial

Fortunately for the plaintiff, the three-judge state appeals panel reversed the Circuit Court judge’s order, holding that he erred in dismissing the suit at trial. According to the appeals panel, the amount of time spent inside or outside of Illinois was inconsequential since the plaintiff’s testimony was enough to create an issue of material fact for the jury to decide whether or not the defendant’s asbestos-laden product was a substantial factor in the plaintiff’s illness.

Additionally, the judge’s rightfully held that the plaintiff’s expert witness’s testimony showed that Welco Manufacturing had a duty to warn the public about the known dangers of asbestos exposure in order to prevent possible injury. As is common in many asbestos exposure cases, manufacturers knew for decades about the health impacts their products could have on consumers but chose not to disclose the information.

Asbestos exposure is a known causal link to developing mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive type of cancer commonly affecting the thin linings of skin around the lungs and abdomen. Despite strict federal regulations essentially banning asbestos in almost all products, thousands of victims and their families receive mesothelioma cancer diagnoses every year.

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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

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