$16 million is awarded in asbestos lawsuit
A Madison County jury awarded $15 million Tuesday to a man from Wood River who developed a lung disease after inhaling asbestos from thermal insulation made by AC and S, a subsidiary of Irex Corp. His wife was awarded $1 million.
The verdict is the second largest personal injury award for an individual in Madison County history.
Attorneys for AC and S, of Lancaster, Pa, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
James C. Crawford, 58, was exposed to insulation made by AC and S between 1967 and 1970, when he worked at Owens-Illinois Glass Co. in Alton, said Barry Julian, Crawford's attorney.
Crawford's job as a forklift operator at Owens-Illinois often put him in contact with the insulation, which was used to cover steam pipes at the plant, Julian said.
Crawford was diagnosed with the lung ailment - mesothelioma - in February. The jury awarded him $7 million in punitive damages and $8 million in compensatory damages. Crawford's wife is Terry Crawford.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4. 2001
$16,000,000 Verdict against AC and S In living mesothelioma case.
On Tuesday December 4, 2001, a jury in the case of James Crawford and Terry Crawford v. AC and S,in the Circuit Court for The Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Illinois case #O1L781, before the honorable Nicholas T. Byron, returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs in me amount of $16,000,000.00. Plaintiffs in the case were James C. Crawford and his wife Terry Crawford. Mr. Crawford was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2001 at the age of 57 and turned 58 during the trial.
The jury found AC and S to be negligent and also awarded punitive damages for the willful and wanton conduct of AC and S.
The verdict was returned as follows: $8,000,000.00 to James C. Crawford (including $495,000 for medical expenses and lost wages); $1,000,000.00 to Terry Crawford; and $7,000,000.00 for Punitive Damages.
Mr. Crawford was exposed to asbestos while working as a fork lift driver at the Owens Illinois Glass bottle manufacturing plant in Alton, Illinois from 1967 through the mid 1970's. Settlements were reached with a number of defendants prior to trial. Only the defendant AC and S went to verdict.
Counsel for AC and S were Dennis Dobbels Esq., of the Kansas City office of the law firm Polsinelli Shalton & Welte and Andrew Cross, Esquire of the St. Louis office of Polsinelli Shalton & Welte. Lead trial counsel for the Plaintiffs is Shepard A. Hoffman, Esq. of the Law Office of Shepard A. Hoffman along with Mark Iola Esq., Randall Iola. Esq., and Neil Kaye Esq., of the law firm of Stanley Mandel & Iola, and Pamela Wise. Esq., Barry Julian, Esq. And Robert Evola, Esq. of the Alton, Illinois law firm of Wise & Julian.
Experts testifying for the Plaintiff during trial were cellular biologist Arnold Brody. PH.D of Orleans; pulmonologist Jill Ohar, M.D. of St. Louis by video tape; and treating oncologist Thomas Ryan, M.D. Plaintiff tried an "actual knowledge" case against AC and S. No state of the art witnesses were called.
AC and S witnesses were former employees George Follmer and George Yoder.
The Defendant AC and S did not dispute the diagnosis of mesothelioma or the fact of asbestos causation. It did dispute exposure, product identification, causation as to AC and S products, damages, and the request for punitive damages.
Jury awards former worker $16 million
Forklift operator sickened by asbestos
By Jennifer Kapiolani Saxton
A Madison County jury awarded a $16 million judgement Tuesday to a former forklift operator who developed cancer while working around asbestos for 20 years. James C. Crawford of Alton and his wife, Terry, sued A.C.and S. Inc. of Lancaster, Pa., for the company's negligence in installing products which contained asbestos.
James Crawford, who worked as a forklift operator for the Owens-Illinois Glass Plant in Alton from 1965 to 1983, alleged he contracted mesothelioma, an asbestos-induced cancer, from pipe coverings in the plant which contained asbestos. The coverings were installed by A.C.and S., formerly Armstrong Contracting and Supply.
The Crawfords' attorney, Pamela Wise, said there are documents proving the defendants knew about the asbestos-contained products in the 1950s when A.C.and S. began receiving work compensations from employees, who had developed cancer from handling A.C.and S.'s products.
According to the court documents, Crawford argued he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed large amounts of asbestos fibers emanating from certain products that he was working with and around which were manufactured, sold, distributed and installed by A.C.and S.
Crawford was diagnosed with cancer in April 2001.
As part of the verdict, James C. Crawford was awarded $8 million, his wife received $1 million, while the Crawfords' were awarded an additional $7 million for punitive damages.