On Monday afternoon, Lead Counsel Nicholas Vogelzang of Vogelzang Law presented as part of the National Asbestos Litigation Conference hosted by Perrin Conferences, an event which brings attorneys together from across the country to discuss new and emerging topics in asbestos litigation. Vogelzang spoke as part of a panel discussing recent verdicts and analyzing their impacts on the industry. This year’s national conference takes place from October 1-3 in San Francisco.
Attorney Vogelzang spoke on two recent appellate decisions in Illinois regarding when a duty to warn arose for a defendant based upon their knowledge of the hazards of asbestos. The first was McKinney v. Hobart Brothers Co., 2018 IL App (4th) 170333, where the 4th District found that the knowledge of the hazards of raw asbestos did not equate to the knowledge of the dangers of asbestos-containing welding rods. Therefore, there was no duty to warn regarding the asbestos contained within the welding rods. As a result, the Court overturned the plaintiff’s $4.6 million verdict awarded to Mr. McKinney for his mesothelioma. The second case Vogelzang analyzed was Startley v. Welco Manufacturing Co., 2017 IL App (1st) 153649, where the 1st District Appellate Court also found that the joint compound defendant knew or should have known of the hazards of raw asbestos by the early 1960s and therefore should have warned about those dangers when the asbestos was mixed into the joint compound. The analysis covered what the Illinois trial courts will do with these opposing views between the 1st District and the 4th District. The talk was well-attended by several hundred lawyers from across the country looking at the changing landscape in asbestos litigation.