Machinist claims asbestos exposure, repetitive trauma in FELA suit

Ann Knef Jun. 11, 2007, 2:00am

An Alton and Southern Railway machinist filed suit June 4 in St. Clair County Circuit Court seeking in excess of $100,000 for work-related injuries.

Freddie Bennett, Jr., who has worked for the railroad since 1986, claims he has had to constantly manipulate and operate heavy, awkward, ergonomically compromised equipment. His work has included coupling and uncoupling air hoses and MU cables and setting and releasing hand brakes that were defective and unsafe, he claims.

Represented by Patrick S. O'Brien and Jeffrey E. Chod of Rathmann & O'Brien in St. Louis, Bennett claims the railroad failed to provide him with a reasonably safe place to work.

He also claims the defendant required him to work in "shorthanded situations with inadequate manpower, assistance, help and/or time for plaintiff to perform his required employment tasks for defendant in a reasonably safe manner."

Bennett claims the negligent acts of the defendant has resulted in an aggravation, acceleration and/or exacerbation of pre-existing conditions to his bilateral upper extremities, neck, cervical spine, thoracic spine, back, lumbar spine and bilateral lower extremities.

His suit also claims that he suffers from asbestosis as a result of Alton & Southern's alleged negligence.

"That during the course of his employment with defendant, plaintiff was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos, asbestos fibers, asbestos dust, powders, diesel exhaust, fumes, solvents, fuel, aromatic hydrocarbons, creosote and/or other hazardous and harmful particles in the air that emanated from certain tools...," the complaint states.

More News