Two Phila. plaintiffs, one with mesothelioma and one with colon cancer, file asbestos mass tort claims in state court

By Jon Campisi | Aug 10, 2012

Two local plaintiffs filed asbestos mass tort claims in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court earlier this week, alleging their respective injuries are a direct result of exposure to asbestos-containing products.

The first complaint was filed by attorney Kevin Mulderig, of the firm Weitz & Luxenberg, on behalf of William J. McGovern, who resides in Northeast Philadelphia.

The short-form complaint states that McGovern, who is 85 years old, was diagnosed at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia this past April with having mesothelioma.

The disease is a result of McGovern having worked around asbestos dust and fibers for much of his career, the lawsuit claims.

The complaint shows that McGovern held various positions throughout his career, which included work both as a civilian and in the U.S. military.

Much of McGovern’s work took place right here in Philadelphia, including at Rohm & Haas, Cramp’s Shipyard, Philadelphia Rust and on the ship the USS Galveston.

The complaint shows that McGovern did smoke less than one pack of cigarettes a day for a period of time in his life, but that he quit smoking more than two decades ago.

The second claim, also filed Aug. 8 at Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas as a short-form complaint in the master asbestos docket, was filed on behalf of John Wilkes and his wife, Hazel.

The plaintiffs, who live in North Philadelphia, allege that John Wilkes’ colon cancer diagnosis this past November was a direct result of his career working around products containing asbestos.

Like the first plaintiff, Wilkes also smoked about one pack of cigarettes per day, but quit back in the early 1990s.

Wilkes,66, had worked as a stage builder at Sun Shipyard, as a laborer at Allenwood Steel Co., as a press operator at U.S. Steel Mill, and as an assemblyman and press operator at the now-defunct Budd Co., which was located for years in Philadelphia’s Hunting Park neighborhood.

The Wilkes complaint was filed by attorney Steven J. Cooperstein, of the firm Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown and Sandler.

The defendants listed in the McGovern complaint are as follows: Certainteed Corp., Foster-Wheeler LLC, General Electric Co., Honeywell International Inc., Ingersoll-Rand Co., Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Owens-Illinois Inc., Rapid-American Corp., Trane U.S. Inc., U.S. Rubber Co., and Yarway Corp.

The Wilkes complaint lists numerous defendants. They included, but are not limited to, Asbestos Insulation Co. Inc., B.F. Goodrich Co., Crane Co., DAP Inc., Foster-Wheeler Corp., General Electric Co., Georgia-Pacific LLC, John Crane Inc., Owens-Illinois Inc., Pneumo Abex Corp. and Weinstein Supply Co.

Both plaintiffs seek damages as set forth in the master asbestos docket at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court.


The case ID numbers are 120800506 and 120800510.

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