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Granite City, Ill., lawsuit over take-home asbestos exposure to go to trial

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The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the family of Annette Simpkins of Granite City, Ill., returning her case to the Madison County circuit court for a trial.

Simpkins died of cancer in 2007. The suit on her behalf against CSX Transportation alleges that Simpkins’ mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos dust brought home from work by her husband on his clothing. Mr. Simpkins worked for the railroad from 1958 to 1964. According to the suit, Annette Simpkins believes she was exposed to asbestos while washing he husband’s work clothes.

Annette Simpkins’ daughter Cynthia was substituted as the plaintiff after her mother’s death.

Here is the Illinois Supreme Court’s 4-2 opinion (one abstention) in the case:

“Plaintiff, Annette Simpkins, filed a three-count complaint against defendant, CSX Transportation (CSXT), alleging negligence, wanton and willful conduct, and strict liability for her exposure to take-home asbestos on the clothing of her husband, who worked for defendants from 1958 to 1964. Annette Simpkins died of mesothelioma and her daughter, Cynthia Simpkins, was substituted as the plaintiff as the special administrator of Annette’s estate. The circuit court of Madison County granted defendant’s motion to dismiss (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2006)). The appellate court reversed and remanded the cause to the circuit court. We granted CSXT’s petition for leave to appeal (Ill. S. Ct. R. 315 (eff. Feb. 26, 2010)). We affirm the appellate court’s reversal of the trial court’s judgment but hold that the allegations in plaintiff’s complaint are insufficient to establish that defendant owed a duty of care to Annette. We remand the cause to the circuit court to allow plaintiff to amend her complaint.”

Read the full decision here.

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