Chicago, IL (July 10, 2018) —
The Daley Center hosts an Asbestos Call every other Tuesday, which serves as the time and place to track the progress of a lawsuit in preparation for the trial date. The Vogelzang Law blog provides bi-weekly Asbestos Call updates.
In the first Asbestos Call this month, Vogelzang Law entered several motions ahead of an upcoming trial beginning this week. The firm will represent Catherine Hutcheson in a unique take-home asbestos case, wherein Ms. Hutcheson was allegedly exposed to asbestos dust in her home. These motions, which set parameters for the trial in question, represent exciting developments ahead of the July 17 trial date.
Ms. Hutcheson’s case is unique as she experienced take-home exposure to asbestos, rather than the more commonly seen workplace exposure. This exposure is evidenced by the asbestos scarring on Ms. Hutcheson’s lungs, as well as her diagnosis of the asbestos signal tumor mesothelioma. Secondary exposure typically occurs in the home, when asbestos dust is brought into the residence from other areas on things like clothes or shoes. In Ms. Hutcheson’s case, both her husband and son were plumbers; her secondary exposure allegedly occurred when she washed their work clothes at home. Her husband previously passed away from mesothelioma.
In take-home cases, the court considers an employer’s duty to warn household members of the potential risks of asbestos exposure. Many states have differing opinions on what is owed, and Illinois courts have had mixed results. Last month, the Delaware Supreme Court overturned its precedent by holding that a limited duty can be applied to both employers and manufacturers in take-home asbestos cases, an encouraging development for individuals seeking trial after secondary exposure.
Ms. Hutcheson’s case holds the potential to provide a new perspective to Illinois take-home cases, creating new opportunity for others to see their day in court and raising awareness of the potential dangers of secondary asbestos exposure.
At Tuesday’s Asbestos Call, Attorney Wyatt Berkover filed a supplemental brief to his motion for punitive damages in the Hutcheson case. Punitive damages, which are awarded in addition to compensatory damages, are intended to deter the defendant from engaging in behavior that is known to be harmful. While other damages aim to compensate the plaintiff for losses, punitive damages are typically viewed as a punishment to the defendant. The jury then determines the amount of punitive damages that are to be awarded at trial.
In another important development in the Hutcheson case, the defendant (an asbestos-cement pipe manufacturer) requested that the Court allow its corporate representative to appear via video trial. Berkover argued that such an appearance should not be permitted as it would be difficult to monitor during trial.
Vogelzang Law begins trial in the Hutcheson case on July 17, 2018.
The Vogelzang Law team continues to advocate for families across America who have been impacted by asbestos. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer linked to asbestos fibers, which are easily inhaled when working with asbestos materials. As a result, insulators, pipefitters, construction workers, mechanics, and more are among the most at-risk groups.