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Illinois Partner Obtains Summary Judgment in WI Mesothelioma Case

Chicago partner Joseph P. Sullivan was successful obtaining summary judgment in an asbestos mesothelioma case pending in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County Wisconsin.

Plaintiff, an employee of a Wisconsin furnace company, alleged that exposure to asbestos from insulated wire manufactured by our client caused the development of his mesothelioma. Testimony from a number of key coworkers placed Plaintiff in proximity to insulated wire when it was being cut and installed on furnaces. However, the witnesses could not identify the product manufacturer of the wire. The other coworkers, who are electricians, testified that they used our client’s wire but did not know Plaintiff. Purchase invoices showed the furnace company bought insulated wire from several sources, including at least one order from our client.

The Court, relying heavily upon Zielinski v. A.P. Green Indust., 2D Wis.App. 85, 263 Wis.2d 294, 661 N.W.2d 491 (2003) ruled that a “mere possibility” of exposure is not sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. The court also noted that Plaintiff’s failure to produce any expert opinion to identify that working with or around our client’s wire was a substantial contributing factor in the development of Plaintiff’s mesothelioma.

Joe is a partner in Litchfield Cavo’s Chicago office. He is a seasoned litigator with more than 25 years’ experience and is licensed in five states. He concentrates his practice in the defense of product liability, wrongful death, toxic tort, construction defect and premises liability claims and handles client matters throughout the nation.