A group of railroad workers claim they are at an increased risk to develop cancer because of asbestos to which they were exposed throughout their careers.

Glenn A. Williams, Richard D. Cocke, Vincente E. Leal, Ronald Kidd, Melvin Denhart, Jesus Zavala and Pascual Santiago filed a lawsuit March 9 in Madison County Circuit Court against CSX Transportation.

The plaintiffs' work for the railroad ranged from 1959 until 2008. Throughout their careers, the plaintiffs claim they worked around asbestos-containing products, sand, coal, rock, granite, iron, aluminum, bauxite, carbon black, coke and other products transported by CSX.

Because of their exposure to the materials, the plaintiffs developed pneumoconiosis, asbestosis and other health condition that have caused them to experience a diminished quality of life and reduced life expectancy, according to the complaint. In addition, the plaintiffs say they suffered bodily pain, injury, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, extreme fear, nervousness and loss of capacity to enjoy life; incurred medical costs; and lost earnings and their ability to earn money.

Now the plaintiffs are at an increased risk for developing cancer, infections of the lung, progressive lung disease, bronchogenic carcinomas, mesothelioma and gastro-intestinal carcinoma, the suit states.

They blame CSX for their injuries, saying the company performed a number of negligent acts, including failure to provide them with a safe place to work, failure to provide them with safe tools, failure to warn them of the hazardous nature of the asbestos products, failure to operate the railroad in a safe manner, failure to provide instructions on the safe use of asbestos materials, failure to enforce a safety plan, failure to remove the asbestos dust, failure to test products before requiring the plaintiffs to work with them and failure to provide the plaintiffs with safe ventilation systems.

The plaintiffs seek a judgment of at least $100,000 each, plus other relief the court deems just.

Daniel R. Francis of Francis Law Firm in St. Louis will be representing them.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-252.

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