Railroad workers combine suit against Illinois Central

Ann Knef Oct. 2, 2006, 3:47am

Twelve former railroad workers who claim workplace exposure caused them to develop asbestosis and pneumoconiosis combined their claims in a suit against Illinois Central Railroad.

The plaintiffs, whose residences are not disclosed, seek damages in excess of $100,000 each under the Federal Employers' Liability Act and the Locomotive Boiler Inspection Act.

Represented by Daniel R. Francis of the Francis Law Firm in St. Louis, the plaintiffs are John E. Adams, George Touchette, Junior E. Langston, Richard Wayne Deppe, Floyd E. Grissom, Jospeh W. Ruyle, John D. Schwinn, Melvin D. Barnett, J.D. Dunbar, Leon R. Biggs, Dan W. Petet and Kenneth L. Novak.

The complaint, filed Sept. 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, claims the railroad used many different asbestos-containing materials and allowed employees to be exposed to various dusts.

The products and materials included asbestos raw mud, lagging, sheeting, insulations block, packing material, millboard, gaskets, floor tile, ceiling tile, paint, trnsite pipe, pipe covering and block, finishing, fire proofing and insulating cements, firebrick, friction brake lining, locomotive and railcar brake shoes, steam hoses, cloth, listing tape, thread and cord, roofing materials and welding gloves.

The suit also claims the railroad used silica-containing products.

"The plaintiffs may develop cancer as a result of their cumulative occupational exposure to these harmful and/or hazardous dusts throughout the course of their employment," the complaint states.

The suit claims the railroad failed to provide plaintiffs with a safe place to work and failed to warn them of the dangers of exposure.

"By at least the mid-1930s, if not earlier, Defendant Railroad knew or should have known that occupational exposure to dust could result in pneumoconiosis and asbestosis and related adverse health affects (sic), including cancer," the complaint states.

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