Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth scheduled a motion hearing for Sept. 6 at 9 a.m. for a 2009 lawsuit against United States Steel involving an employee’s clothing catching on fire.

The plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint on Aug. 1, blaming US Steel for failing to preserve evidence.

Anthony Redmond claims he was severely burned after flames from a coke oven battery engulfed his clothing after his employers claimed the clothing was fire proof and required him to wear it.

After the incident, the pants Redmond was wearing when he was burned were taken from the emergency room and were allegedly misplaced, lost or tampered with, his attorney claims, and the whereabouts of that evidence is currently unknown.

The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 2, 2009, against US Steel and Fosbel Global Services.

Redmond claims he was working for Fosbel Global Services at a US Steel plant on Dec. 13, 2008, when he was injured.

The company allegedly provided Redmond with clothing for his job that was supposed to be fire proof, fire retardant and heat resistant, the complaint states. However, the clothing caught fire while Redmond was working, allegedly causing severe burns.

Redmond blames US Steel for requiring him to wear the clothing, which was not adequately flame proof, and for failing to ensure the clothing was fire retardant, the complaint states.

Just three weeks prior to Redmond’s injury, another employee was working near one of the coke oven batteries when the bottom of his orange flame-retardant pants allegedly caught fire. The flames were put out immediately and no injuries were reported. However, the information was included in a weekly update to US Steel employees, the amended complaint states. The whereabouts of the pants from this previous incident are also unknown, the complaint states.

Because Redmond’s amended complaint only blames US Steel for failing to preserve evidence and lists punitive damages solely against US Steel, Fosbel filed a motion for sanctions pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 137 on Aug. 13.

The motion states, “Counsel for the plaintiff has no facts which would lead him to believe, formed after reasonable inquiry, that Fosbel lost the pants in question.”

Redmond seeks a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Steel Grip Inc., Westex Inc., Choctawkaul Distribution Co., and Clean The Uniform Company are also named defendants.

David W. Dugan of East Alton is representing Redmond.

Stephen J. Maassen of Hoadglan, Fitzgerald & Pranaitis in Alton is representing Fosbel Global Services.

Jeffrey K. Suess and Susan M. Herold of Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion, LCC in St. Louis are representing US Steel.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 09-L-1163

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