Common Sense from Illinois Supreme Court on Asbestos Evidence

By April 16, 2009Briefly Legal

From the Madison County (Ill.) Record, “Illinois Supreme Court strikes long-time asbestos evidence ruling”:

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court has delivered a blow to a long-standing asbestos evidence rule that had been a defendant’s bane.

In a decision handed down Thursday morning, the court reversed the 1987 Lipke rule barring defendants in asbestos cases from introducing evidence of the plaintiff’s other exposures. Illinois is the only state in the country to have had a rule like Lipke.

The National Association of Manufacturers joined with eight other groups in filing an amicus brief urging the Illinois Supreme Court to overrule a lower court decision that hamstrung the defendants’ ability to let juries know about other parties that might have caused the plaintiff’s injuries. For more background and the brief, see the NAM’s Legal Beagle entry.

As Ed Murnane, head of the Illinois Civil Justice League, told the Record, “”By striking down the arbitrary provisions of Lipke – the ruling that made it impossible for Illinois judges to grant a fair trial to defendants – the Supreme Court is improving the legal environment in Illinois and, finally, allowing defendants to actually present their side of the case at trial.”

The Supreme Court’s 5-1 opinion in Nolan v. Weil-McLain is available here.

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