Retired yardman claims railroads caused asbestosis

By Steve Gonzalez | Aug 15, 2007

Elmer Grissom filed a Federal Employers' Liability Act complaint against Illinois Central Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad Company in Madison County Circuit Court Aug. 10, alleging he was exposed to asbestos while employed as a yardman.

According to the complaint, Grissom worker for ICR from 1962 until 1985, and worked for Union Pacific from 1986 until his retirement. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and leukemia in 2007 and asbestosis in 2004.

Grissom claims that during his employment with the railroads he was required to breathe harmful chemicals, carcinogens, pollutants and other harmful matters, including asbestos.

He claims his former employers were negligent by failing to supply safe methods for work, failing to supply reasonably safe equipment, failing to supply sufficient help, failing to warn of the risks and dangers in working with and around harmful substances and allowing him to be exposed to dangerous levels of harmful substances.

Grissom also claims they failed to employ safe working practices, failed to issue and enforce adequate safety rules, failed to modify or eliminate job duties, equipment or practices to minimize the levels of exposure and failed to use due care and caution required under the circumstances.

According to Grissom, he has in the past experienced and endured, and may for an indefinite period of time in the future endure pain, suffering, inconvenience, irritation and annoyance.

He also claims he has had numerous tests and lung surgery, has incurred medical expenses, has been placed at risk for further injury, suffered the loss of his ability to engage in his usual activities and occupation, lost his strength and vitality and his ability to enjoy the pleasures of life.

"Plaintiff has been diagnosed with occupationally related asbestosis, lung cancer and leukemia and has also suffered great emotional trauma and fear of death and additional painful medical procedures," the complaint states. "Plaintiff's damages are in excess of $1 million."

Grissom is represented by Daniel Francis of St. Louis and Randy Gori of Edwardsville.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

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