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.