A recent decision by the Appellate Court of Illinois represents a potential landmark for those diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, and other asbestos-related diseases. The case was brought by a husband and wife, John and Deborah Jones, who brought a claim against Pneumo Abex, Owens-Illinois and others, accusing Abex of being part of a civil conspiracy with other manufacturers to hide information about asbestos’ dangers from the public. The defendants had moved for summary judgment and the case had been dismissed, but the appeals court judges decided that the summary judgment had been issued in error and that the case needed to go before a jury in order for them to determine whether the facts support the Jones’ assertion.
The court’s decision has the potential for being extremely important for those diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, as it provides those harmed with the disease with the ability to put forward evidence of a conspiracy among manufacturers of asbestos-containing products to falsely claim that it was safe. In the case of the Jones, they claimed that Abex knew of asbestos’ health hazards, yet it continued making and distributing products containing asbestos without providing protections for employees or customers. They also claimed that the company and its co-conspirators manipulated scientific and legal information to protect themselves from liability and allow themselves the ability to continue making big profits through its use, and that this was what led to Mr. Jones’ lung cancer. Their case cited several specific acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, including:
- Editing and changing reports prepared by a doctor concerning asbestos’ health hazards
- Contracting with the publishers of a trade magazine to ensure that it would not publish articles about asbestos exposure causing illness
- Suppressing a report that criticized the idea that exposure to asbestos could be safe, as well as other reports
- Altering reports that cited the health dangers of exposure to asbestos
For those diagnosed with mesothelioma, the idea that companies worked to suppress such essential information is maddening. If you have been sickened by asbestos as a result of this type of conspiratorial action, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.