Two Hundred Defendants Named in Asbestos Lawsuit

Madison, IL—A plaintiff is naming over 200 defendants in a Madison, IL mesothelioma case. Charles Childress, a contractor who worked for over 50 years at various companies and facilities across the nation, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2009.
Attorneys for Childress, Randy Gori and Barry Julian, filed suit in Madison County on April 2, citing over 200 businesses, as well as two universities.
The companies, they claim, intentionally inflicted the asbestos-related disease on Childress. Some of the companies named in the lawsuit included Coca-Cola, Metropolitan Life, Eli Lilly, Kroger, General Mills, Pfizer, the University of Kentucky and Indiana University.

Almost all of the defendants were charged with negligence. This charge stems from the asbestos exposure which resulted from the companies’ products – which were either manufactured, distributed, sold or installed as part of Childress’s work. A second count alleges willful and wanton conduct, a charge which would qualify the plaintiff for punitive damages.

Metropolitan Life, Garlock Inc., and the former Abex Corporation were the only defendants named in a third count of conspiracy to conceal dangers. This is unusual, as many asbestos suits include the conspiracy count, since companies are often aware of the dangers of asbestos but do not inform their workers.

Eight other counts were levied against some or all of the defendants. In the eleventh, Childress’s spouse, Brenda, is claiming damages from all defendants on loss of consortium.

Some of the companies are accused of destroying documents or otherwise concealing knowledge of asbestos use in the workplace, thereby putting Childress and other workers at risk.

Asbestos, a fibrous mineral which is heatproof, strong and flexible, has been used for centuries in a variety of applications. It gained popularity in the 19th and 20th Centuries as an insulating material and an addition to concrete and other construction materials. Although relatively safe when it is stable, once the asbestos is disturbed, it releases millions of microscopic – and deadly – fibers. Asbestosis, pleural disease, and the rare but aggressive and fatal cancer mesothelioma can result from asbestos exposure. The longer and more intense the exposure, the greater the chances of contracting one of these diseases.

Plaintiff’s counsel Gori blanketed the defendants, whom he referred to in the singular in order to emphasize the universality of their misconduct, with allegations relating to the asbestos exposure.

The lawsuit, which is one of the widest-ranging ever to be brought before Madison County court, will be heard by Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.