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Illinois Supreme Court dismissed asbestos lawsuit

After a lengthy court battle, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a Mississippi man's asbestos lawsuit may not be heard and decided in St. Clair County. In making its ruling, the court stated that the hardships that litigating the case in Illinois would produce for the defendants outweighed the benefits of doing so for the plaintiff. It is an unfortunate ruling, to say the least.

The asbestos lawsuit was filed in St. Clair County in 2009 by a former railroad worker who stated that he had been exposed to asbestos and other dangerous substances and that he had developed respiratory problems as a result of that exposure. The plaintiff named Illinois Central Railroad Co., his former employer, as the defendant in the case.

In making its ruling, the Supreme Court listed some of the factors that courts should consider when making a forum analysis. We will list those below for our readers who are considering filing an asbestos lawsuit in a different county in which they live.

Relevant private interest factors include:

  • Convenience of both parties to the case
  • Access to relevant evidence
  • Ability of witnesses to appear in court
  • Possibility of viewing the premises on which the injury occurred

Relevant public interest factors include:

  • The fairness of asking community members to hear and decide a case regarding an injury that took place elsewhere
  • The administrative challenges of handling a case regarding an injury that took place elsewhere
  • The interest in having local cases decided locally

After an analysis of these factors, the court determined that the case should not be decided in St. Clair County. There is no word yet on whether the plaintiff will attempt to get the decision overturned.

Source: Madison Record, "Supreme Court rules for Illinois Central in asbestos forum case," Bethany Krajelis, Dec. 28, 2012

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