Illinois Jury Awards $30 Million Verdict in Mesothelioma Case Against Bridgestone Firestone

Dean Omar Branham Shirley represented widow in talc-asbestos death

CHICAGO – A Cook County jury awarded a $30 million mesothelioma verdict against tire manufacturer Bridgestone Firestone in a case where the deceased’s only exposure to asbestos was through his father’s employment decades earlier at a tire manufacturing facility in Decatur.

Thomas Jackson died one month before his 65th birthday and only five weeks after his diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma, a cancer of the membrane that lines the body’s abdominal organs.

Attorneys for Mr. Jackson’s wife, Dorothy Jackson, demonstrated that the Decatur facility used talc mined in Vermont and New York to keep tires and rubber components from sticking together. The talc contained raw asbestos, which experts say Mr. Jackson’s father, Jim, a manager at the plant, inadvertently carried home with him on his clothing.

“For years this Firestone facility allowed hardworking men to go home to their families covered in raw asbestos materials, endangering the next generation and, in Mr. Jackson’s case, causing a sudden and painful death,” said Dean Omar Branham Shirley partner Benjamin Braly, who with Sam Iola represented Dorothy Jackson. Attorneys Michael Cooney and Robert Cooney of Cooney & Conway in Chicago also represented Mrs. Jackson.

Thomas Jackson grew up with limited means and knew his wife Dorothy from the time each was 15 years old. He paid his way through college, went into accounting and later founded a wealth management company that he owned when he died.

During the nine-day trial, attorneys produced almost 100 pieces of documentary evidence that tied Thomas Jackson’s asbestos exposure to his father’s work at the plant, beginning in 1965. Jurors, who were without one alternate due to COVID, deliberated for an hour and a half before awarding $5.25 million in economic losses, $11.14 million in wrongful death damages and $13.6 million in survivor damages.

The case is Dorothy J. Jackson, Independent Administrator of the Estate of Thomas J. Jackson, Deceased vs. A.W. Chesterton Company et al., no. 19 L 009793 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

Dean Omar Branham Shirley, LLP, is a nationally recognized trial firm that handles cases across the country for individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries or have died as a result of irresponsible conduct of others. For more information, please visit


Media Contact:
BeLynn Hollers


Are you ready to get started?