Chicago, IL (June 12, 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.
The Daley Center’s Tuesday Asbestos Call on June 12 saw Vogelzang Law move several cases forward as the firm entered several motions to compel and set a 2019 trial date.
Attorney Wyatt Berkover entered a motion to compel in Catherine Hutcheson’s case, requesting responsive documents to Plaintiff’s Case Specific Interrogatories and Request for Production to an industrial equipment supplier, and compelled the defendant to furnish an Illinois Supreme Court Rule 214 Affidavit of Completeness for said responses within seven days.
Ms. Hutcheson immigrated to Chicago from Scotland with her then-husband, a plumber. The Hutchesons had a son, who joined his father’s plumbing business while Ms. Hutcheson worked and managed many of the household duties. Throughout this time, Ms. Hutcheson handled the family’s laundry, where she was allegedly exposed to asbestos dust on the work clothes as she washed them. Her husband later passed away from mesothelioma.
This represents a unique asbestos exposure case as Ms. Hutcheson never worked directly with asbestos but suffered from the alleged secondhand exposure in her home and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017.
In take-home cases such as this, the state-by-state jurisdiction regarding an employer’s duty to warn household members is taken into close consideration. Whether or not companies have a duty to their employees’ families is determined by each state. Illinois courts have had mixed results, and recent rulings have found no duty. However, as we learn more about take-home cases and secondhand asbestos exposure, it is likely that more take-home exposure cases will see trial. Ms. Hutcheson’s case could present a new perspective on duty for take-home cases in Illinois, opening the door for others to see their day in court.
Vogelzang Law also entered a motion to compel in the case of Jim Thomas, an Illinois resident and insulator out of Local 17 with a lifelong industrial career. Mr. Thomas worked in many industries throughout his life, including refineries, steel mills, oil facilities, chemical facilities, and other industrial facilities, where he was allegedly exposed to asbestos in numerous locations. This motion requests documents from several oil companies. Mr. Thomas represents the struggles faced by many of Vogelzang Law’s hardworking clients, and his alleged exposure in many of his job sites presents an important opportunity for advocacy on behalf of industrial workers.
In the final development for Vogelzang Law clients, the firm set a trial date for client Gus Straub, a boiler engineer who worked in large condominium and apartment buildings throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In his work, Mr. Straub was allegedly exposed to asbestos in pumps and boilers; he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April of this year.
Mr. Straub’s case will go to trial in June 2019.
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.