Asbestos suit filed

By John O'Brien | Nov 22, 2006

CHARLESTON - A recently filed asbestos lawsuit names only two defendants, the successors-in-interest to several railroads.

Rudolph Thompson says he was exposed to asbestos while employed at the various railroads and filed suit Nov. 15 in Kanawha Circuit Court. He claims he has been diagnosed with asbestosis.

The listed defendants are American Premier Underwriters and Consolidated Rail Corporation, also known as Conrail. Those two businesses, according to the lawsuit, are the successors-in-interest to: Erie Lackawana Railroad; Erie Railroad; Lackawanna and Western; Delaware; New York Central Railroad; Pennsylvania-New York Central Transportation Co.; Penn Central Transportation Co.; Penn Central Corp.; and Pennsylvania Railroad.

James McKowen of James Humphreys and Associates is representing Thompson, who says he was required to work with and near toxic and harmful dust, including asbestos and materials containing asbestos.

He argues that the defendants failed to provide a reasonably safe workplace, furnish him with safe and suitable tools for protection or warn him of the dangers of handling asbestos.

"The plaintiff was a strong, able-bodied worker capable of gainful employment at the time of the manifestation of his illness," the complaint says. "As a result of his illness, the plaintiff has suffered damages by way of lost wages and diminished ability to render services, society, affection, counseling and support to his household."

The suit also says the defendants failed to test the asbestos dust and install a proper ventilation system.

A visiting judge will be assigned the case.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-2449

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