You have worked hard your entire life to build your family business from a small, two man crew to a successful and profitable operation with several dozen employees. You have always treated your employees fairly and have prided yourself in consistently making the most ethical of business decisions. Despite all of this, you now find yourself with an unforeseen and terrifying problem: you have been sued in an asbestos lawsuit. The lawsuit has been filed in Madison County, Illinois, a place you have never heard of. It lists your small, family business alongside the names of 100 other companies, including huge, well-known corporations like Pfizer, Ford Motor Company, and General Electric. It claims that your small business exposed a man to asbestos and caused his death. You are distraught. What do you do now? Will this be the end of your business? What will happen to your family? To your employees?
First things first, DO NOT PANIC. You are not alone. Thousands of these lawsuits are filed throughout the United States each year with a large percentage handled right here in the St. Louis metropolitan area (which includes Madison County, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri). And like in your lawsuit, most of those lawsuits name numerous (if not a 100+) companies. Being named in this lawsuit does not mean that you are destined for years of legal battles, millions of dollars in fees, and ultimately a trial of the century. The fact is, with the help of experienced defense attorneys, many of the businesses named in this lawsuit (including possibly yours) will be dismissed well before the case is ever set for trial. Often, after more investigation is done (through discovery and depositions), plaintiffs will agree that many businesses should be dismissed from the case. Additionally, numerous other businesses in the case will be dismissed after their defense attorneys are able to show that those businesses should not legally be allowed to be sued in the court where the case was filed (for various reasons). Ultimately, even if your business is not dismissed from the case, there is still no reason to panic. Your attorney will have kept you advised of the potential cost of a settlement (or in an incredibly small percentage of cases- the potential cost of a trial) throughout the litigation process. In other words, there should be no surprises and you will have adequate time to prepare and make the best choices for your business.
These types of cases are understandably frightening to all businesses, and especially to those who have never before faced an asbestos case. But that fear can be tackled head-on with the assistance of an understanding and experienced defense attorney. Your attorney will explain each step of the process and work with you to make the most economical and beneficial decisions for your business along the way. You have worked hard to mold your business into the thriving success it is today. Your attorney will take away the fear of the unknown that comes with these lawsuits and allow you to continue to focus on your business' growth.