Railroad workers claim asthma and other respiratory diseases

Kelly Holleran Aug. 24, 2009, 6:19am

Two men have filed separate suits against their former employer, alleging they were forced to breathe in hazardous fumes throughout their careers that caused them to develop asthma and other respiratory diseases.

Paul White and Walter Cornish claim they began working at The Kansas City Southern Railway Company in 1990 and in 1994, respectively.

Throughout their employments as locomotive conductors and locomotive engineers, White and Cornish were exposed to diesel and gasoline exhaust fumes, excessive dust, silica dust particles, chemical compounds and fumes, asbestos particles, paints and paint sprays, solvents, cleaners, degreasers and industrial soaps, according to the complaints they filed Aug. 18 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

White ended his employment with The Kansas City Southern Railway Company on Nov. 9, while Cornish's last day was Aug. 30, 2006, but both claim they now suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, breathing and lung disorders and disability. In addition, the chemicals caused an aggravation of a pre-existing condition to their lungs and respiratory systems, caused them to experience pain, suffering and permanent disfigurement, caused them to lose large sums of money from their gainful occupations and caused them to sustain a permanent impairment of their earning capacities, the suits state.

White and Cornish have also incurred medical costs and lost their enjoyment of life, the complaints say.

Each is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs and pre-judgment interest.

They will be represented by Robert Marcus of Kujawski and Associates in O'Fallon.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case numbers: 09-L-435, 09-L-436.

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