Pneumo Abex LLC (“Abex”), formerly a brake manufacturer, has been a long-time target of Illinois asbestos litigation brought by plaintiffs alleging that Abex conspired with other companies to suppress information about asbestos. On August 31, 2012, the Illinois Court of Appeals for the Fourth District held that there was no legally sufficient evidence that Abex had engaged in conspiracy. In that case, Jayne Menssen v. Pneumo Abex Corp., et al., the jury had awarded against Abex $3.5 million in compensatory damages and $4.37 million in punitive damages. Reagan Simpson was the lead trial counsel as well as the lead appellate counsel for Abex. The Menssen opinion followed an earlier opinion, Rodarmel v. Pneumo Abex Corp., et al., in which Reagan was again lead trial and appellate counsel for Abex.
Also on August 31, a judgment notwithstanding the verdict was obtained by Abex in a similar case, Charles Gillenwater v. Honeywell International, Inc., et al. in which the jury had awarded $9.6 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages against Abex.
All three of these cases were tried in McLean County, Illinois, which was named one of the 8 “Judicial Hell Holes” in 2011-12 by the American Tort Reform Foundation because of the verdicts and judgments resulting from this docket of asbestos cases.