CHARLESTON - A Cincinnati resident is suing a metal company in the name of his deceased father, who he says died from exposure to hazardous chemicals while working for the company.

Spensor A. Watson Jr. filed a suit in Kanawha Circuit Court as administrator of the estate of his father against Elkem Management Inc. doing business as Elkem Metals Company.

During a delivery for Elkem, the plaintiff says his father came into contact with microsilica, which is hazardous when made airborne. He became ill and consequentially died from his illness.

Elkem operates a manufacturing plant in Alloy in Fayette County. Also named in the suit is Greg Eads, formerly employed by Elkem at the Alloy plant in July 1990.

Watson was employed by Ronjack Transport Inc. in Hamilton County, Ohio, in July 1990. He was directed to travel to the Alloy plant and pick up a tractor-trailer load of microsilica and transport the load to a concrete plant in Hamilton County.

Eads was a supervior and responsible for the sale and delivery of the microsilica from Elkem to Watson.

The suit says the elder Watson went to the plant and was directed to a certain area so his truck could be loaded with the microsilica. The suit states Eads and other employees of the plant were not trained in the transfer of microsilica from the railroad car to a tractor-trailer.

"Although Eads instructed that the microsilica was to be transferred from the railroad car on July 23, 1990, he did not instruct the other employees on the work crew as to the procedure for transferring the microsilica without exposing Watson to said substance," the suit says.

The suit also claims Elkem was aware that exposure to airborne microsilica was deleterious and highly harmful and that no action was taken to prevent Watson from exposure.

"Spensor A. Watson's exposure to microsilica directly and proximately caused him to develop a severe lung disease and to suffer other injury, disabling him from work and causing severe emotional distress, and further died as a proximate result of the exposure," the suit says.

Watson Jr. is claiming Elkem was negligent because it did not provide his father with a safe work environment.

The suit says that as a result of Elkem's negligence, Watson lost the ability to work, accrued medical expenses, suffered physical and emotional pains and died as a proximate result thereof.

Watson Jr. is seeking compensatory damages to pay for medical bills and funeral costs, as well as punitive damaged and court fees.

The suit was filed by Watson's attorney, David L. White, and has been assigned to Judge Jennifer Bailey Walker.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-77

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