Decision filed 01/22/08. The text of
this dec ision may be changed or
corrected prior to the filing of a
Petition for Rehea ring or the
disposition of the same.
APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS
XON BLACKBURN et al., ) Appeal from the
) Circuit Court of
Plaintiffs, ) Marion County.
DELBERT COPPLE, CARL HEINRICHSMEYER, )
and DONALD HYATT, ))
v. ) No. 04-L-25
ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY, ) Honorable
) Patrick J. Hitpas,
Defendant-Appellant. ) Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE SPOMER delivered the opinion of the court:
The defendant, Illinois Central Railroad Company (the Railroad), appeals from the
order of the circuit court of Marion County that entered a judgment on jury verdicts in favor
of plaintiffs Delbert Copple, Carl Heinrichsmeyer, and Donald Hyatt (the plaintiffs). For the
reasons set forth below, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
The plaintiffs are among a group of 24 plaintiffs who sued the Railroad for claims
arising under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) (45 U.S.C. §51 et seq. (2000)),
whereby they alleged they were injured when they were exposed to asbestos, diesel exhaust,
and other dangerous products during the course of their employment. The plaintiffs claimed,
inter alia, that the Railroad negligently failed to provide them with a reasonably safe place
to work. The Railroad filed a motion to sever the cases for trial, and the circuit court granted