Chemicals leaked in derailment caused man's cancer, suit says

Ann Knef Feb. 9, 2005, 7:31am

A man who claims that chemicals leaking from a train derailment in Tamaroa, Ill. caused his cancer, is suing Illinois Central Railroad Co. for at least $150,000.

The suit filed by Harvey Miller Feb. 7 in St. Clair County Circuit Court--the second of its kind within a week--alleges that the train accident Feb. 9, 2003, damaged his lungs, skin, organs and tissue.

"Plaintiff has developed cancer as a result of his ingestion of the toxic and hazardous fumes," according to the suit. "He (Miller) has experienced physical and mental pain and suffering, fear, anguish, discomfort, and emotional distress, and he will continue to do so in the future, including the fear of future adverse medical consequences and dread diseases."

The suit seeks to recover damages for medical expenses and lost wages. It also claims the railroad is negligent for "abnormally dangerous activity."

"The transportation by rail of the harmful chemicals contained in the tank cars that derailed through towns such as Tamaroa is an abnormally dangerous activity which gives rise to strict liability when the conduct of that activity causes injury or damage to third persons," according to the complaint.

According to Miller's suit, Illinois Central, which does business as Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad, was also negligent for the derailment of the 21-tank car train in which hydrochloric acid, vinyl chloride, formaldehyde, methanol and other chemicals leaked from tank cars. Subsequent leakage occurred on Feb. 20 and May 7, 2003.

"Canadian National...was negligent in planning to prevent spills and leaks of harmful chemicals and to manage such spills if and when they occurred," the suit states.

Miller is represented by William K. Meehan of University City, Mo.

05L79, 20th Judicial Circuit

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