Estate of Railroad Worker Awarded $1.4 Million in Asbestos Fela Action

06.26.2013: James Wylder and Andrew Kelly of the Bloomington law firm Wylder Corwin Kelly LLP were the lawyers representing Jane Lilienthal, Administrator of the Estate of Jake Lilienthal, deceased in a 2 week trial in which a McLean County jury returned a verdict at approximately 5:30 p.m. yesterday in the total amount of $1,443,810.53 against defendant, Illinois Central Railroad Company.

Jane Lilienthal’s husband, Jake Lilienthal was born and raised in Bloomington-Normal and began working for the GM&O Railroad (a predecessor to the Illinois Central Railroad Company) at its shops and railyard on Bloomington’s west-side in 1957 as a laborer and machinist. From 1957-1972 in Bloomington, and after 1972 when he was transferred to the railroad’s Paducah, Kentucky shops, Jake Lilienthal was exposed to asbestos from various materials including asbestos rope, asbestos insulations, asbestos brakes, asbestos gaskets/packing and other asbestos materials. Jake Lilienthal developed asbestosis (scarring of the lungs) and lung cancer from his exposures to asbestos. He died on November 4, 2009 from the lung cancer.

The case was filed in McLean County Circuit Court under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) that covers injuries sustained by railroad workers in the course of their employment. The jury found the railroad had knowledge of the hazards of asbestos and negligently failed to warn Jake Lilienthal about the hazards of asbestos, including failure to provide a reasonably safe work environment, and that the railroad’s negligence in protecting Jake from asbestos exposure was a cause of his development of asbestosis and lung cancer, and a cause of Jake’s death.

The 2 week trial was held in McLean County in front of Judge Paul Lawrence. The jury deliberated over parts of 2 days.

Honeywell sanctioned for violating the Illinois Supreme Court Rules; Jurors award $4.3 million

04.08.2011: James Wylder and Lisa Corwin of the Bloomington law firm Wylder Corwin Kelly, LLP were the lawyers representing Vicki Hoogerwerf, widow of John Hoogerwerf, in a trial in which a McLean County jury returned a verdict in the amount of $4,320,000.00 against defendant Honeywell International, Inc.

The jury assessed damages in the amount of $300,000.00 to Vicki Hoogerwerf, individually, for her damages during her husband’s lifetime. The jury assessed damages in the amount of $4,020,000.00 to the estate of John Hoogerwerf, for his injuries and wrongful death.

John Hoogerwerf, contracted and died of lung cancer at age fifty-three after being exposed to asbestos while working as an insulator at jobsites in Central Illinois, including Illinois State University. John Hoogerwerf was not warned of the dangers of asbestos.

At the beginning of the trial, Honeywell was defaulted due to its violation of the rules of the Illinois Supreme Court. The trial proceeded on only the issue of damages.

The trial was held in McLean County in front of Judge Paul Lawrence. The jury deliberated for three hours.

McLean County jury awards $89.6 million in asbestos suit

03.11.2011: James Wylder and Andrew Kelly of the Bloomington law firm Wylder Corwin Kelly, LLP were the lawyers representing Charles Gillenwater in a 5 week trial in which a McLean County jury returned a verdict in the total amount of $89,600,000 against defendants Honeywell International, Inc., Pneumo Abex, LLC, Owens-Illinois, Inc. and John Crane, Inc.

The jury assessed compensatory damages in the amount of $9,600,000 against all 4 defendants. The jury further assessed punitive damages against defendant, Honeywell International, Inc. in the amount of $20,000,000, Pneumo Abex, LLC in the amount of $20,000,000, and against defendant Owens-Illinois, Inc. in the amount of $40,000,000.

Fifty-nine year old Charles Gillenwater contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos while working as a pipefitter in the 1970s at jobsites in Central Illinois, including at Bridgestone/Firestone, Illinois State University and Eureka Company here in Bloomington-Normal. Gillenwater was never warned of the dangers of asbestos.

The jury found Defendants, Honeywell International, Inc., Pneumo Abex, LLC, and Owens-Illinois, Inc., either themselves or through their corporate predecessors, conspired with other companies, including UNARCO, Johns-Manville, Raybestos-Manhattan, Owens Corning and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, to suppress information about the hazards of asbestos, including an agreement not to warn their employees and customers about the hazards of asbestos.

The five week trial was held in McLean County in front of Judge Scott Drazewski. The jury deliberated over parts of 2 days.
On August 31, 2012, the trial court modified the jury verdict. Both the trial court’s modification and the jury verdict are currently being appealed by various parties to the case.

$17 Million for mesothelioma victim awarded by McLean Jury

02.08.2010: James Wylder and Lisa Corwin of the Bloomington law firm Wylder Corwin Kelly, LLP were the lawyers representing Jayne Menssen in a 4 week trial in which a McLean County jury returned a verdict at approximately 5:00 p.m. today in the total amount of $17,870,000 against defendants Pneumo Abex, LLC, and Honeywell International, Inc.

The jury assessed compensatory damages in the amount of $3,500,000 against both defendants Pnuemo Abex, LLC and Honeywell International, Inc. The jury further assessed punitive damages against defendant Pneumo Abex, LLC in the amount of $4,370,000, and against defendant Honeywell International, Inc. in the amount of $10,000,000.

Jayne Menssen contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos when she worked as a secretary at Union Asbestos & Rubber Company, later called UNARCO Industries, Inc., in Bloomington from 1967-1969. Menssen was never warned of the dangers of asbestos.

The jury found Defendants, Pneumo Abex, LLC, and Honeywell International, Inc. (through their corporate predecessors Abex and Bendix) conspired with other companies, including UNARCO, Johns-Manville, Raybestos-Manhattan, Owens Corning and Metropolitan

Life Insurance Company, to suppress information about the hazards of asbestos, including an agreement not to warn their employees and customers about the hazards of asbestos.

The four week trial was held in McLean County in front of Judge Michael Prall. The jury deliberated for 1 day.

Families of former Unarco workers awarded $5.5 million by McLean County jury

10.21.2009: James Wylder and Lisa Corwin of the Bloomington law firm Wylder Corwin Kelly LLP were the lawyers representing Doris Dukes, Judy Blessing, and Ruth Watkins, the widows of Merlon Dukes, Bob Blessing, and John Watkins, all former UNARCO workers who died of the asbestos disease mesothelioma. After a two and a half week trial, a McLean County jury returned a verdict for the families in the amount of $5,564,000.00.

Merlon Dukes, Bob Blessing, and John Watkins were all exposed to asbestos when they worked at Union Asbestos & Rubber Company, later called UNARCO Industries, Inc., in Bloomington during the 1950s and 1960s. The men were never warned of the dangers of asbestos.

The jury found Defendant, Honeywell International, Inc. (through its corporate predecessor Bendix) conspired with other companies, including UNARCO, Johns-Manville, Raybestos-Manhattan,Owens-Illinois, Owens Corning and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, to fail to disclose information about the hazards of asbestos, including an agreement not to warn their employees and customers.
The trial was held in McLean County in front of Judge Scott Drazewski. The jury deliberated for about 4 ½ hours.

Another former Unarco worker’s family awarded $2.5 million by McLean County jury

04.30.2009: James Wylder and Lisa Corwin represented Juanita and Baxter Rodarmel in a three week trial in which a McLean County jury returned a verdict in the amount of $2,500,000 against Pneumo Abex, LLC, and Honeywell International, Inc.
The verdict represented both compensatory damages in the amount of $2,000,000 and punitive damages in the amount of $100,000 as to Pneumo Abex, LLC, and Honeywell International, Inc. in the amount of $400,000.

Juanita Rodarmel contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos when she laundered the clothing of her first husband, Leslie Corry, who worked at Union Asbestos & Rubber Company, later called UNARCO Industries, Inc., in Bloomington from 1953-1956. The jury found Defendants, Pneumo Abex, LLC, and Honeywell International, Inc. (through their corporate predecessors Abex and Bendix) conspired with other companies, including UNARCO, Johns-Manville, Raybestos-Manhattan, Owens-Illinois, Owens Corning and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, to fail to provide information about the hazards of asbestos, including information to employees and customers.

Former Unarco worker’s family awarded $2.6 million by McLean County jury

03.04.2009: James Wylder and Lisa Corwin of the Bloomington law firm Wylder Corwin Kelly LLP were the lawyers representing Roger Holmes and John Holmes, the sons of Jean Holmes, who died at the age of 93 on April 2, 2006, from the asbestos disease mesothelioma. After a three week trial, a McLean County jury returned a verdict today for the family in the amount of $2,632,611.66.

Jean Holmes was exposed to asbestos when she laundered the clothing of her husband, Don Holmes, who worked at Union Asbestos & Rubber Company, later called UNARCO Industries, Inc., in Bloomington during 1962 and 1963. Holmes was never warned of the dangers of asbestos.

The jury found Defendants, Pneumo Abex, LLC, and Honeywell International, Inc. (through their corporate predecessors Abex and Bendix) conspired with other companies, including UNARCO, Johns-Manville, Raybestos-Manhattan, Owens-Illinois, Owens Corning and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, to suppress information about the hazards of asbestos, including an agreement not to warn their employees and customers about the hazards of asbestos.

The three week trial was held in McLean County in front of Judge Scott Drazewski. The jury deliberated for about 2 ½ hours.

Employee awarded $250,000 in wrongful discharge case

07.14.2006: Lisa Corwin was the trial lawyer who obtained a $253,952.53 verdict on behalf of Clinton resident Jesse Miller. The verdict found Miller’s employers, Prairie Land Golf Cars, Ltd. and Little Egypt Golf Cars, Ltd., responsible for wrongful termination due to a work-related injury Miller suffered in early 2002. Miller was fired on the first day his employers believed he was medically cleared to return to work after completing months of physical therapy as a result of surgery related to his work injury. The verdict included $125,000 in punitive damages as to Prairie Land and $32,500 in punitives as to Little Egypt. On June 7, 2007, the trial court ordered a new trial based on improper jury instructions. The case settled in 2009.

Jury Awards $1.08 Million for Family of Local Insulator

05.09.2006: Andrew Kelly was the trial lawyer who obtained a $1.08 million verdict on behalf of the family of a local insulator who died of asbestos-related lung cancer caused by his occupational exposure to asbestos-containing products manufactured by John Crane, Inc. Prior to the jury trial, John Crane, Inc. was defaulted for “incomplete and resistive” and “willful non-compliance” with the trial court’s pre-trial discovery orders. The trial court found John Crane’s “extensive history of non-compliance with discovery requests and orders of the Court” that the trial would proceed on the issue of damages only. After a two-day trial on damages, a McLean County jury returned a verdict of $1,080,00.00. This is not the first time John Crane has been sanctioned for its conduct in discovery issues in Central Illinois. In June 2004, John Crane was sanctioned by a court in Peoria County for its intentional suppression of evidence. The jury in that case returned a verdict of $2 million against John Crane.

Jury awards $2 million verdict for Patient injured by Decatur doctor

09.02.2004: James Wylder and Lisa Corwin were the trial lawyers who obtained a $2 million verdict on behalf of Decatur resident, Ray Shaw, in an 8 day trial in Macon County before Judge Thomas Little. The verdict found Dr. Franz Charles professionally negligent in his performance of a right colon resection and exploratory laparotomy, surgeries he performed on Shaw. The surgeries left Shaw permanently disabled. The Defendant did not appeal the verdict.