The Madison County Record Mar. 31, 2014, 9:29am

The special administrator of a deceased woman's estate blames a railroad company for contributing to her death, saying it allowed its employees to be exposed to asbestos despite knowledge of the associated health risks.

Jeanne Belman filed a lawsuit March 14 in the St. Clair County Circuit Court against CSX Transportation.

In her complaint, Belman alleges the recently deceased Marcella Goedeke developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos fibers that clung to her husband's clothing following his work at The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. When Marcella Goedeke's husband came home, she inhaled and ingested the asbestos fibers that were on his clothes, according to the complaint.

As a result of Goedeke's mesothelioma, she suffered great pain and disability, endured serious mental anguish and extreme nervousness and incurred significant medical costs, the suit states. She died on March 18, 2012, the suit states.

Belman claims Goedeke's disease could have been avoided had The Baltimore and Railroad Company heeded the advice of experts in 1935 who warned the railroad to educate all its employees about asbestos fibers. The experts also advised the company to get rid of asbestos dust, to sprinkle the working area with water, to have employees wear inhalers and to have frequent analyses made of the dust content of air at different times during work hours, the complaint says.

Instead, she says the railroad negligently exposed Marcella Goedeke's husband to asbestos, allowed him to carry the asbestos with him into his home, failed to warn him that it could cause disease, failed to prevent him from being exposed to the asbestos, failed to provide him with protective clothing and allowed unsafe work practices to become routine.

Eventually, The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company was taken over by CSX, which Belman named as a defendant in her complaint that seeks damages under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).

Belman is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs. She is being represented by William P. Gavin of Gavin Law Firm in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 14-L-225.

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