Silica dust lawsuit filed

by John O'Brien |
May 17, 2006, 6:43am

CHARLESTON - A former electrician and his wife have filed a lawsuit against 78 defendants, claiming his illness came as a result of exposure to silica dust.

Richard Arlin Holder and E. Carole Holder filed the lawsuit May 10 in Kanawha Circuit Court through lung injury attorney Jim Humphreys.

The suit breaks the defendants into four categories: Employer defendants, materials defendants, premises defendants and equipment defendants.

Richard Holder says he was an electrician in West Virginia and Kentucky from 1966-2002 and was employed through the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union Hall #466 in Charleston.

He says he was exposed to unsafe levels of silica dust, which can cause silicosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, rheumatoid and other collagen diseases, pulmonary fibrosis and cancer.

The complaint says Holder "had a number of job responsibilities, including working with or in the close vicinity of sandblasting, masonry block cutting, concrete mixing, drilling, mortar dust, industrial operations and/or other inherently dangerous activities."

Of the 78 defendants, 12 are West Virginia-based. They are: B+B Electric Co.; Belle Electric; Brown Electric; Century Electric; Charleston Area Medical Center; Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia; MBI Services; Pritchard Electric Co.; Schoolfield-Harvey Electric Co. of West Virginia; Simmons Electric Service; South Charleston Electric Co.; and Union Boiler Company, frequently known as Nitro Electric Company.

Eighteen defendants are listed as employers, 17 are premises defendants, 13 are equipment defendants and 35 are materials defendants.

Holder says he has been forced to withstand: Extreme physical pain and suffering; mental anguish and distress; permanent and severe physical and psychological impairment; loss of earning capacity; loss of enjoyment of life; medical expenses; and loss of household services.

The Holders charge the defendants with: Deliberate exposure; unsafe workplace; negligent hiring; product and product warning negligence; breach of warranty; strict liability; a claim for punitive damages; and loss of consortium.

Judge Louis Bloom has been assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-878

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