A former railroad employee claims he developed leukemia after being exposed to various carcinogenic substances throughout his career.

Richard Sutton filed a lawsuit Sept. 17 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Union Pacific Railroad Company.

In his complaint, Sutton alleges he worked as a brakeman and conductor for the defendant from 1974 until 2006. Throughout his career, Sutton was exposed to multiple toxic substances, including second-hand cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust and asbestos, according to the complaint. In turn, Sutton developed leukemia, the suit states.

Due to his cancer, Sutton suffered great pain and disability, suffered mental anguish and extreme nervousness and incurred medical costs, the complaint says. He claims he also lost wages.

Sutton blames Union Pacific for causing his injuries, saying the company negligently failed to provide him with a safe place to work, failed to provide him with safe equipment, exposed him to toxic chemicals, failed to warn him of the hazards of the chemicals and allowed unsafe work practices to become routine.

In his complaint, Sutton is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs.

William P. Gavin of Gavin Law Firm in Belleville will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-493.

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