FELA suit against Alton and Southern claims asbestos, silica exposure

Kelly Holleran Apr. 7, 2010, 12:20pm

A man claims he experiences respiratory problems after being exposed to asbestos throughout his career as a machinist for a railroad company.

James M. Fischer filed a Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) lawsuit March 23 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Alton and Southern Railroad.

Fischer claims he began working for Alton and Southern in 1973 and worked for the company until 1975. Throughout his career, Fischer was exposed to asbestos, diesel exhaust, environmental tobacco smoke, silica and toxic dusts, gases and fumes, according to the complaint.

Because of his exposure to the elements and his respiratory illness, Fischer suffered great pain and disability, serious mental anguish and extreme nervousness because of his concern over developing cancer and lost large amounts of income, the suit states.

Alton and Southern negligently failed to provide Fischer with a safe place to work; failed to provide plaintiff with safe equipment; failed to warn plaintiff of the dangerous nature of silica, asbestos and diesel fumes; failed to provide Fischer with safe and proper ventilation; and failed to inspect its locomotives to discover their contamination of silica, asbestos and diesel fumes, the complaint says.

In his two-count suit, Fischer is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs.

William P. Gavin of the Gavin Law Firm in Belleville and Robert Norton of Jones and Granger in Houston will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-139.

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