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.

$2 million verdict for family in wrongful death asbestos case

06.18.2004: Lisa Corwin and Andrew Kelly were the trial lawyers who obtained a $2 million verdict on behalf of the family of a local pipefitter, Melvin Garzee, who died from lung cancer and asbestosis caused by his occupational exposure to asbestos from John Crane, Inc’s asbestos-containing gaskets. The trial lasted two weeks. The verdict was affirmed by the Third District Appellate Court of Illinois in December 2005.

$1 million verdict for family of insulator in conspiracy case

08.28.2007: James Wylder and Lisa Corwin were the trial lawyers who obtained a $1,000,000 verdict against Honeywell International, Inc. on behalf of the family of Edward Hill, who died from lung cancer on August 24, 2003. Ed Hill was exposed to asbestos while working as an insulator from 1947-1981. The Plaintiffs presented evidence which showed that companies, including Bendix (now known as Honeywell), UNARCO, Johns-Manville, Raybestos-Manhattan, Owens-Illinois, Owens-Corning, Abex and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company knew of the dangers of exposure to asbestos as early as the 1930s, and conspired to conceal information about those hazard so they could continue to profit from the manufacture and sale of asbestos-containing products. Evidence at trial also included the conviction of Bendix, Johns-Manville, Abex, and Raybestos-Manhattan in 1948 of a decades-long price-fixing conspiracy brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiffs after deliberating for just over 2 hours, finding Honeywell participated in the conspiracy not to warn employees and customers about what the conspirators knew – that inhaled asbestos caused lung disease which was irreversible and incurable.