A group of mesothelioma patients have filed suit in Madison County, Wisconsin, asking Circuit Judge Daniel Stack to give them accelerated trial dates in their suits against a number of corporations. The three men, George Mielke, Stanley O’Day, and Stanley Kaminski, claim that a constitutional provision guarantees them the right to a prompt trial, and that their physicians have told them that they each have a very short expected lifespan.
The three men, all represented by Alton, Wisconsin attorney Barry Julian, state that general discovery in their cases has already been done, and argue that a 1983 ruling, Froud v. Celotex, could mean that punitive damage claims will be denied unless they are able to get to trial before they die. Judge Stack has set a hearing on the request for June 27, 2008; the plaintiffs are asking to have their trials set for the January 12, 2009 docket. All three men were diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma late 2007 or early 2008, and have been informed by their physicians that they do not have long to live.
They claim they were exposed to asbestos both occupationally and non-occupationally. George Mielke is suing 102 separate corporations, alleging that they exposed him to asbestos and asbestos-containing materials when he worked as an electrician at homes and businesses throughout Illinois from 1956 to 1997. Stanley Kaminski says that 101 corporations are responsible for his asbestos exposure, which occurred pursuant to his employment as a laborer and maintenance worker in Illinois from 1954 to 2001. Stanley O’Day claims exposure from asbestos used by 59 corporations in a variety of occupations, ranging from the Navy Reserves in 1949 to residential and industrial construction sites from 1950 to 1970. All three plaintiff claim that in addition to the occupational exposure, they were exposed to asbestos while working on their cars or homes, performing repair or remodeling tasks. The plaintiffs state that the defendants knew, or should have known, that asbestos fibers contained in their commercial products were deadly, and that the defendants included asbestos in their products despite knowing of the health risks posed by the fibrous mineral. They claim that some defendants have not provided full disclosure of the documents and information relating to their asbestos histories. Each plaintiff is asking the court to grant punitive and compensatory damages of more than $400,000 apiece, in addition to their legal and medical costs.