"Much Ado About Nothing? Change to Illinois Construction Statute of Repose Should Only Apply to Claims Arising from Construction that Occurred after 2004."
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On December 19, 2014, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law Illinois Senate Bill 2221, amending the construction-related statute of repose as it applies to certain asbestos lawsuits. From pleased Democratic lawmakers to outraged right-leaning business groups, factions on both sides of the aisle have proclaimed the legislation a game-changer. On its face, it appears to broaden the scope of asbestos litigation to include additional claims that would have previously been time-barred. However, a closer look at the legislation and Illinois Supreme Court jurisprudence suggests that the new law is unlikely to provide plaintiffs with any additional relief whatsoever. Simply put, under Illinois Supreme Court precedent the law cannot revive previously barred claims, so the only claims affected by the new law are those originating from construction projects that occurred in 2005 and later. Because asbestos products were almost completely phased out of construction in the 1970s, few, if any, claims will be saved from the time-bar by the new law.
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