Francis firms files more FELA suits in St. Clair County

Ann Knef Apr. 10, 2006, 12:10pm

St. Louis attorney Daniel Francis has taken aim at a familiar target in a familiar venue by filing another set of personal injury suits against Illinois Central Railroad.

On behalf of former workers who claim lung injury, Francis filed four Federal Employers Liability Act suits in St. Clair County Circuit Court April 7.

In one case, the wife of a deceased worker claims her husband was exposed to and inhaled asbestos fibers, free silica, and diesel, solvent, and gasoline fumes, as well as fibrogenic and carcinogenic materials.

Eugene A. Buesking, who was diagnosed with lung cancer and other "serious and severe pulmonary diseases," died Aug. 28, 2004. His widow, Jeanna M. Buesking, claims the railroad was negligent for his exposure and responsible for his death.

Since December, Francis has brought a total of 45 lung injury lawsuits against Illinois Central Railroad in St. Clair County.

In some of Francis' filings, the plaintiffs have no relationship to St. Clair County.

But since Illinois Central Railroad operates tracks through the county, the venue arguably is appropriate.

Passed by the U.S. Congress in 1908, FELA was designed to protect and compensate railroaders who sustained injuries while working. Unlike state worker's compensation law, FELA requires the injured worker to prove that the railroad was "legally negligent," at least in part, in causing an injury.

The other three suits filed on April 7 include plaintiffs Lester A. Ramsey, Kenneth E. Rowe and Paul E. Ferguson, all whom claim asbestosis.

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