Railroad worker claims non-malignant respiratory disease in suit against ICR, CNR

Kelly Holleran Apr. 6, 2011, 3:42pm

A former Illinois Central Railroad and Canadian National Railway employee claims he developed a non-malignant respiratory disease after more than 30 years of working near asbestos fibers.

Eugene N. Petersen Jr. filed a lawsuit March 11 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Illinois Central Railroad Company and Canadian National Railway.

In his complaint, Petersen claims he worked as a machine apprentice, machinist, carman apprentice and carman for Illinois Central Railroad from 1974 until 1995 and as a machinist for Canadian National Railway from 1995 until 2005. Throughout his career, Petersen worked near asbestos dust and fibers, diesel exhaust, environmental tobacco smoke, silica dust and coal dust, causing him to later develop a non-malignant respiratory disease, according to the complaint.

Because of his disease, Petersen suffered great pain, extreme nervousness and mental anguish and incurred substantial medical costs, the suit states. In addition, he lost his earnings and his earning capacity, sustained an impaired ability to enjoy life and experienced a diminished ability to render services, society, affection, counseling and support to his family, the complaint says.

Petersen blames his disease on the two railway defendants, saying they are guilty of a number of negligent acts, including their failure to provide Petersen with a safe work place and proper tools, their failure to warn him of the hazardous nature of asbestos and their failure to operate the locomotive repair facility in a proper fashion.

In his two-count complaint, Petereson seeks a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

William P. Gavin of Gavin Law Firm in Belleville, Kip A. Harbison of Glasser and Glasser in Norfolk, Va., and William J. Moody Jr. of The Moody Law Firm in Portsmouth, Va., will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-129.

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Canadian National Railway

Montreal, QC

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