James Wylder and Lisa Corwin of the Bloomington law firm Wylder Corwin Kelly LLP were the lawyers representing the Estate of Paul McGowan, deceased, in a 3-week trial in which a McLean County jury returned a verdict. The jury found in favor of the McGowan family against the Illinois Central Railroad Company and returned damages in the amount of $3,107,250.00.
Paul McGowan began working for the GM&O Railroad (a predecessor to the Illinois Central Railroad Company) at its shops and rail yard on Bloomington’s west side in 1956 and was exposed to asbestos from various materials including asbestos rope, asbestos insulation, asbestos brakes, asbestos gaskets/packing and other asbestos materials. Paul worked for the railroad until 1993, when he retired. Paul later developed lung cancer, and died December 4, 2003.
The case was filed in McLean County Circuit Court under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). The Act 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 Paul McGowan about the hazards of asbestos, including failure to provide a reasonably safe work environment. The jury further found that the railroad’s negligence in failing to protect Paul McGowan from asbestos exposure was a cause of his lung cancer and death.
The 3-week trial was held in McLean County in front of Judge Rebecca Foley. The jury deliberated for approximately 5 hours.