For me, December and the holiday season has always been a time to reflect on the past year. A time to remember the challenges we’ve overcome; the projects we’ve spearheaded; and the goals we’ve achieved. Below I’ve compiled highlights from 2010.
Throughout the year, our attorneys continued to fight on behalf of victims of mesothelioma and their families. This summer, we secured a favorable appeal in Simpkins v. CSX Transportation for all Illinois families impacted by a mesothelioma diagnosis. The Appellate Court of Illinois ruled that employers do have a duty to inform their employees’ family members about the dangers of take home asbestos exposure. The ruling established an important precedent for mesothelioma victims and their families.
The firm’s success did not stop with our mesothelioma practice. This spring the commercial litigation department secured a $32 million dollar settlement in an antitrust lawsuit. Then throughout the year, the intellectual property department secured two preliminary injunctions in separate cases, including one involving camouflage sports apparel and vampire welding helmets. This year once again proved that partnering with clients, instead of billing exorbitant hourly rates, gets better results, faster.
Our pharmaceutical litigation department gained momentum early on in 2010 by attaining leadership roles in the Yaz and Chantix cases, both examples of high-visibility litigation the firm has handled over the years. I expect momentum to only increase as our phrama team continues to advocate for consumer rights and investigate drugs pulled from the market by the Food & Drug Administration through 2011.
The mesothelioma community made great strides in 2010 by ramping up efforts to improve awareness of mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos. We were pleased to celebrate several victories with our friends at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. In April, the U.S. senate passed a resolution declaring the first week of April as National Asbestos Awareness Week. Then, in November, after many months of hard work educating congressional leaders about the need for more awareness about mesothelioma, the U.S. House passed a resolution making Sept. 26, National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. The mesothelioma community has also moved into the social media world. You can now fan the Simmons firm, Miles for Meso, Ban Asbestos Now! and ADAO & MARF on Facebook.
In 2010, the firm tripled our own ongoing efforts to promote awareness of mesothelioma by becoming the national sponsor of Miles for Meso, starting the Simmons Mesothelioma Foundation, and celebrating the opening of the Simmons Cancer Institute.
The firm’s non-profit endeavors did much during 2010 to help our community and cancer patients across the county. The Foundation formed critical partnerships with leading medical mesothelioma experts throughout the country, which provides mesothelioma patients with cutting-edge treatment options regardlessof where they’re located in the United States. In addition, the firm hosted the Second Annual Alton 5K Miles for Meso Run & Walk, and sponsored additional Miles for Meso races in Florida, Indiana and Virginia. The three races combined raised approximately $40,000 for mesothelioma research and drew just under 1,000 participants.
I’m also proud of the work our employees, through the Simmons Employee Foundation, have done this year to improve life in our local community. This spring, they hosted their 4th Annual Dinner Auction, which raised more than $200,000 for two area charities. Then this fall, the employee’s annual golf tournament raised just over $15,000 for two other local charities. These two events, while the most visible, represent only a portion of the work and donations the firm’s employees contributed to their communities throughout this economically difficult year.
Looking back, the firm has had a very busy 2010. Yet, looking forward, life at the firm is going to get even busier. If you haven’t heard, the firm is relocating its headquarters to Alton, Illinois. Since the summer we’ve been renovating the old Jefferson Smurfit building in downtown Alton. It’s a beautiful location surrounded by historic brick streets and stunning views of the Clark Bridge and Mississippi River.
As we literally move into 2011 and into our new building, we’ll continue to fight for the rights of
patients and their families. We’ll work to raise awareness about mesothelioma, generate funds for mesothelioma research, and call for legislation banning the use of asbestos. We are grateful for 2010 and look forward to the challenges of the coming year.
Have a safe and happy holiday, and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year!