Three Pa. couples and N.J. widow file asbestos suits in Phila. Common Pleas Court

By Jon Campisi | May 2, 2012

Three Pennsylvania couples and a woman from New Jersey filed asbestos mass tort claims at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court Monday, alleging respective injuries as a result of asbestos exposure.

The out-of-state plaintiff's claim came from Gibbsboro, N.J. resident Phyllis Downey, who is suing in her capacity as executrix of the estate of the late John M. Downey.

The widow claims her husband died as a result of the lung cancer he was diagnosed with in late June 2010, an injury the plaintiff alleges came as a result of John M. Downey having worked around asbestos-containing products.

John Downey allegedly came into contact with the asbestos fiber during various points in his career, the suit states. This included the more than three-decade period during which the man was a member of electrician’s unions in both Ohio and New Jersey.

Downey was a skilled tradesman who was assigned to various job sites throughout the City of Philadelphia and surrounding areas.

The products Downey worked around that are believed to have contained asbestos included blankets, pipe covering, block, drywall compound and cement, the lawsuit claims.

“The air Plaintiff’s Decedent breathed was contaminated with asbestos dust and fibers shed by asbestos products sold, manufactured or distributed by the defendant corporations …,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiff, Downey’s widow, seeks compensatory damages in excess of $50,000 and punitive damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs, attorney’s fees and other relief.

The Downey complaint also contains a conspiracy count against one of the defendants, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, in which the plaintiff alleges that the firm conspired with the other defendants to injure the late John Downey.

This conspiracy count alleges that the insurance company concealed information and otherwise prevented workers and responsible authorities from learning of the health hazards associated with asbestos exposure.

The Downey lawsuit, filed as a short-form complaint in the master asbestos litigation at Common Pleas Court, was filed April 30 by Wilmington, Del. attorneys Gregory N. Bunitsky and Marla A. Macey.

There are close to 40 defendants named in the suit. They include, but are not limited to, American Standard Inc., A.W. Chesterton Inc., Bayer Cropscience Inc., Brand Insulations Inc., Foster-Wheeler Corporation, General Electric, Honeywell International Inc., Owens-Illinois, Pfizer Inc., Union Carbide Corporation and Viacom Inc., which is successor by merger to CBS Corporation.

The other asbestos mass tort claims filed in the master asbestos litigation at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court are as follows:

Philadelphia attorney Robert E. Paul, of the firm Paul, Reich & Myers, filed a claim on behalf of Daniel and Arlene Quinn of Philadelphia.

The lawsuit claims that Daniel Quinn contracted colon cancer as a result of his asbestos exposure, which came during his career working for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

Quinn, who will turn 65 next month, received the cancer diagnosis this past summer.

Quinn worked as a painter for SEPTA at two of the agency’s trolley and bus depots beginning back in 1967.

The plaintiff was also a two-pack-a-day smoker from 1970 until 1992.

The defendants in the lawsuit include, but are not limited to, Bridgestone America Tire Operations, Ford Motor Company, Pep Boys, Rohm and Haas Company, Sherwin-Williams and Target Auto Supply.

The lawsuit claims that Quinn continues to suffer from the effects of his disease, which he alleges was caused by his working with asbestos-containing products.

Philadelphia attorney Steven J. Cooperstein, of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler, filed an asbestos claim April 27 on behalf of Fogelsville, Pa. resident Daniel Unger and his spouse, Nori Zelenz.

The suit claims that Unger, 48, developed mesothelioma in March of this year as a result of his exposure to asbestos while working as a carpenter for the Carpenter’s Union Local 600. His employment began in 1988 and ceased in 2002.

Unger is a nonsmoker, his suit claims.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include, but are not limited to, Brand Insulations Inc., Burnham LLC, Foster-Wheeler Corporation, General Electric Company, PECO, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation and Union Carbide Corporation.

Cherry Hill, N.J. attorney Mary Gaffney, of the firm Weitz & Luxenberg, filed an asbestos claim April 30 on behalf of Donald and Maureen Wall of Upper Chichester, Pa.

The lawsuit alleges that Donald Wall, 79, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in February of this year, an injury the plaintiffs’ claim was a result of Donald Wall having been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber during his career.

Wall was exposed to asbestos during his time working at the Sun Oil Refinery in Marcus Hook, Pa., while doing construction projects and home renovations, and while performing automotive work with asbestos-containing friction products beginning in 1950 and continuing through the late 1970s.

Donald Wall also smoked one-and-a-half packs of cigarettes a day from 1952 to 1983, the lawsuit states.

The defendants in the Wall complaint include, but are not limited to, American Biltrite Inc., American Honda Motor Company Inc., Crane Company, Delaware County Supply, Ford Motor Company, Foster-Wheeler LLC, General Electric Company, Georgia Pacific LLC, Honeywell International Inc., Owens-Illinois Inc. and Pneumo Abex LLC, successor in interest to Abex Corporation.

All of the above-mentioned plaintiffs seek damages as set forth in the master asbestos litigation at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court.

Jury trials are being demanded.


The case ID numbers are 120403500, 120403562 and 120403567.


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