The Illinois Supreme Court issued its opinion on March 22, 2012 in the Simpkins case involving take-home exposure to asbestos. Simpkins v. CSX Transportation, 2012 IL 110662. The majority affirmed the Fifth District Appellate Court’s reversal of the Madison County trial court’s dismissal with prejudice, but on different grounds – it held that insufficient facts were alleged in the complaint to state a duty and remanded to allow the plaintiff to re-plead.
In essence, the Court side-stepped the fundamental issue of whether a duty to warn a secondarily exposed plaintiff exists in Illinois. Our office obtained an earlier conflicting decision in the Second District Appellate Court in the Nelson case that no such duty exists. That conflict still remains, even after today’s Supreme Court decision, as noted in the dissent filed by Justice Freeman (who surprisingly would have found that no such duty exists).
Read the decision here. (PDF opens in a new window.)
For additional information on this topic, contact Ed Matushek.
The Illinois Supreme Court previously issued two substantive opinions that impact asbestos litigation in Illinois:
- Nolan v. Weil McLain, Illinois Supreme Court Docket No. 103107, (filed April 16, 2009), which overruled the “Lipke Doctrine” and
- Ready v. United/Goedecke Services, Inc., Docket No. 103474, (modified on denial of rehearing March 23, 2009) which held that apportionment of fault on the verdict form applies only to defendants remaining in the litigation at the time of trial.