POINT PLEASANT – A Mason County man's workplace injury lawsuit gives new meaning to the expression "for the birds."
Roger Hoschar filed suit against Appalachian Power Company and Industrial Contractors in Mason Circuit Court. In his complaint filed Jan. 31, Hoschar, 52, of Leon, alleges he developed an infection from breathing dust particles from bird manure while working at one of AEP's power plants in Mason County.
According to his suit, Hoschar worked for Evansville, Ind.-based Industrial Contractors as a boilermaker. For a 14-month period during 2006 to 2007, he worked on one of the precipitators at AEP's Philip Sporn Plant near New Haven.
The ledges and surfaces on the precipitator contained "large accumulations of bird manure." In some places, Hoschar alleges it was deep as 18 inches.
Prior to the conclusion of his shift, Hoschar removed the manure that accumulated on his clothes with either a brush or an air hose. Though the manure was removed, he alleges aerosolized dust particles from it accumulated onto his clothes, and into his lungs during those 14 months.
In April 2009, Hoschar alleges he was diagnosed with histoplasmosis, an infection caused by a fungus found in bird and bat feces. Because the infection was detected two years after his assignment at AEP ended, Hoschar maintains a portion of his lung had to be removed.
In his suit, Hoschar alleges both AEP and Industrial Contrators were aware of potential harm that may come to him by working in and around bird manure on a daily basis, but did nothing to either warn him about it or provide him the necessary instructions and equipment to minimize contracting the histoplasmosis. As a result, Hoschar alleges he's incurred medical expenses and pain and suffering, and suffered a loss of earning capacity, household services and the capacity to enjoy life.
Hoschar's wife, Judy, 57, is named as a co-plaintiff in the suit, and makes a claim for loss of consortium.
The Hoschars seek unspecified damages, and interest. They are represented by Alex McLaughlin with the Calwell Practice in Charleston.
The case is assigned to Judge David W. Nibert.
Mason Circuit Court case number 11-C-10