2013 - Terrence M. Johnson ‘70
Terry Johnson has been representing union men and women who have been catastrophically injured from exposure to asbestos since 1983.
During the summer of 1983, Terry met Ed Krull, a Chicago Asbestos Worker who had been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma. Terry met Ed through Ed's son, Tom, when Terry was volunteering as a boxing referee for the Chicago Park District. Tom was one of the boxing coordinators for the Park District. Less than six months later, Terry filed a lawsuit on Ed's behalf in Federal District Court in Chicago. Because of Ed's failing health, Terry also requested - - and received - -an accelerated trial date. With a trial team of Ron Motley, Tom Hart and Terry Johnson, jury selection began in April of 1985. Minutes before opening statements were to begin at trial, the asbestos manufacturers met the family's settlement demands and settled the first asbestos workers case brought to trial in Federal Court in Chicago.
Shortly thereafter, the leadership of the Chicago Asbestos Workers asked Terry if he would co-ordinate a medical screening for their membership. For successive weekends from February to April 1986, Terry guided over 600 Chicago Asbestos Workers and their spouses through a screening at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The screening detected early-stage cancer in some members, while a significant number of Local 17 members over the age of 50 were diagnosed with asbestos-related lung disease. Many of the members' wives were also shown to have asbestos-related lung disease just from exposure to asbestos dust in washing their husband's work clothes over the years.
Terry was later asked to represent members of various building trade unions who similarly suffered from asbestos disease: Pipefitters, Boilermakers, Sheetmetal Workers, and Electricians to name a few. He would also come to represent Chicago school teachers and even a prominent Chicago architect who contracted mesothelioma from being exposed to asbestos in schools. As his asbestos practice continued to grow, Terry teamed up with other trial counsel to create a core group of experienced trial lawyers who would assist in bringing mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis cases to verdict or settlement.