Toxic exposure caused respiratory disease, says railroad electrician

Steve Gonzalez Nov. 21, 2005, 4:56am

Arthur Layton filed a Federal Employee Liability Act (FELA) suit in Madison County circuit Court Nov. 14 seeking damages in excess of $200,000 for injuries allegedly received while working for Illinois Central Railroad.

Layton, who worked as an electrician from 1950 through 1980, claims he was required to work with or around asbestos, diesel exhaust, environmental tobacco smoke, toxic dusts, solvents, gases and welding and cutting fumes which caused him to suffer permanent injuries to his lungs.

According to Layton, the railroad violated FELA by failing to:

  • Provide a reasonably safe place to work:

  • Provide safe equipment including adequate protection masks or respiratory protection devices;

  • Warn him of the hazardous nature of silica, welding fumes, cutting fumes, solvents, asbestos or diesel fumes;

  • Provide safe and proper ventilation in his workplace; and

  • Inspect its locomotives, cars, cabooses, appurtenances and other equipment and buildings in order to determine their contamination levels.

    Layton also claims Illinois Central required him to work on or near defective locomotives contaminated with asbestos, silica, tobacco smoke and diesel exhaust but did not provide him with locomotives that were in proper and safe conditions.

    He claims to suffer from respiratory illness and disease which causes great pain and disability, mental anguish, extreme nervousness over the prospects of developing cancer.

    Layton is represented by William Gavin of Belleville and Bruce Halstead of Houston.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Don Weber.

    05 L 1162

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