Railroad Cancer Lawsuits Lead to Multi-Million Dollar Pay Outs

Railroad workers were exposed to hazardous chemicals in their work for decades. In recent months, a series of railroad cancer lawsuits has been filed across America.

The latest to hit the headlines was brought by a widow from South Carolina. She is suing CSX Transportation Inc., claiming negligence on behalf of the railroad. The lawsuit says  CSX took insufficient safety measures to prevent her late husband’s death.

Rutha Frieson, a special administrator of the estate of Marvin Frieson, filed a complaint at the end of 2016 in St. Clair County Circuit Court in Illinois, reported the Madison St. Clair Record. The lawsuit claims CSX failed to provide a safe place to work for Frieson, a railroad worker who died after developing stomach cancer that metastasized to colon cancer.

The lawsuit claims Frieson was exposed to asbestos-containing materials during his work with CSX. It claims the exposure caused him to develop stomach cancer, ultimately leading to his death in November 2014.

CSX case is latest in series of railroad cancer lawsuits
CSX is sued in railroad cancer lawsuit

Frieson’s widow claims CSX failed to provide a safe working environment for her husband when he was a railroad worker.

She claims she suffered serious losses as a result of her husband’s death. The plaintiff claims CSX Transportation Inc. failed to provide adequate and safe equipment to protect Frieson from inhaling dangerous asbestos fibers. She claims CSX failed to provide warnings and instructions on how to use materials that contained asbestos fibers.

Railroad Cancer Lawsuits Resulted in Major Verdicts

Last June, a railroad cancer lawsuit was filed by Clarence Mayberry. He claims he was exposed to solar radiation and creosote from 1968-2009. He said a lack of protective equipment from Union Pacific caused him to develop basal cell carcinomas on his head and neck.

Last September, a jury in Madison County awarded $7.5 million to James Brown. The railroad worker was diagnosed with cancer after years of exposure to toxic chemicals, creosote, lead and degreasing solvents on the railroad.

Brown was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia in 2008. In December 2010, he filed a lawsuit under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) blaming Union Pacific and Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW), for failing to give him protective equipment.

In 2014, two cases of hazardous exposure to chemicals in New Jersey were settled for $2.05 million.

As a FELA injury lawyer with decades of experience in representing injured railroad workers, I have seen the terrible impacts dangerous chemicals and substances can have on workers.

In many cases, workers were given inadequate protection from deadly substances. Diesel, coal dust, creosote, and asbestos on the railroads can cause cancer and other incurable diseases.

If you believe you have grounds to file a railroad cancer lawsuit, call us today at (866) 455-6657.

Norfolk Southern Coal Terminal Dust Concerns and Railroad Workers

John-cooperBy John Cooper, FELA Injury Lawyer

Over the last few years the furor over coal dust levels at Norfolk Southern’s coal terminal in Norfolk, VA has galvanized the local community of West Ghent who are concerned coal dust is harming their health.

But what about Norfolk Southern workers and the workers on other railroads who breath in these fumes on a daily basis?

The Virginian-Pilot has run a number of articles about health concerns related to the Lambert’s Point terminal. In a recent story it profiled Ray Gregory, a vociferous local resident who is urging Norfolk Southern to clean up its act.

The article makes me concerned for those residents of my hometown as well as railroad workers across the country who work with coal dust. Coal dust is an extremely deadly substance and is known to cause Pneumoconiosis, also known as ‘Black Lung Disease’, which according to the American Lung Association has no known cure or treatment. If the dust coats homes in West Ghent what does it do to the lungs of railroad workers?

According to the Pilot, state officials says most of the dust comes from an open dumper that was installed back in 1962. The state says nearly 90,000 pounds of coal dust blew off the site in 2013. The dumper flipped about 200,000 rail cars in the same year.

Residents living near a railroad terminal in southeast Newport News are also concerned about the effects of airborne coal dust.

I am concerned that railroad workers who work around flipped coal cars risk contracting lung disease.  In 1990 Olen R. Roberson, a former employee with Norfolk and Western Railway Company, was awarded benefits from Black Lung Disease he’d contracted while working as railroad worker around coal by the Department of Labor. Norfolk and Western Railway Company sued claiming that railroad workers were not eligible for compensation. However, the United States Court of Appeals ruled that railroad workers who worked with coal were eligible for benefits from contracting Black Lung Disease, a decision that was upheld by the US Supreme Court.

Railroad workers are exposed to many dangerous substances and chemicals in their industry. Lung cancer and other cancers are associated with exposure to a range of toxic chemicals, such sand dust (silica), asbestos, coal dust, diesel fumes and exhaust, as well as fumes from processes such as welding. Railroad workers and other workers who are frequently exposed to such substances during their time on the railroad It’s common to find negligence on the part of the companies which employ them, leaving the railroads open to a lawsuit under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).

If you have fallen ill on the railroad as a result to exposure to harmful substances, call our railroad worker injury lawyers at 866.455.6657.

Railroad Workers, Coal, Black Lung, and Compensation

John-cooperBy John Cooper, Railroad Workers Injury Lawyer

Coal dust and its harmful effects when airborne hit the headlines this summer when the Virginian-Pilot reported on the coal dust present in the air in the Lamberts Point neighborhood of Norfolk due to the Lamberts Point terminal processing of coal. Most of Lamberts Point terminal is excluded from clean air regulations due to it being built prior to the Clean Air Act of 1970. This mean it can take a backseat on positive measures to reduce the amount of air pollution at the terminal. Norfolk Southern has tried to dismiss concerns in regards to the harm coal dust poses in the past which is troubling.

Coal dust is an extremely deadly substance and is known to cause Pneumoconiosis, better known as ‘Black Lung Disease’, which according to the American Lung Association has no known cure or treatment. As such the US Department of Labor provides worker compensation as well as survivors benefits to “coal miners” disabled by Black Lung Disease as mandated by the Black Lung Benefits Act.

In 1990 Olen R. Roberson, a former employee with Norfolk and Western Railway Company, was awarded benefits from Black Lung Disease he’d contracted while working as railroad worker around coal by the Department of Labor. Norfolk and Western Railway Company sued saying that railroad workers were not eligible for compensation. However, the United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, ruled that railroad workers who worked with coal were able to receive benefits from contracting Black Lung Disease, a decision that was upheld by the US Supreme Court. Norfolk and Western Railway Company sued again that year in another case of a railway worker awarded compensation for Black Lung Disease and again lost.

Railroad workers who work around open topped coal cars and are exposed to coal dust are at risk of contracting Black Lung Disease. If you suffer from any of the symptoms consult a physician.

Norfolk and Western Railways merged with Norfolk Southern in 1982. However it continued paper operations 1997 until it fully merged with the company.

If you have suffered an illness related to industry or have been hurt working on the railroad, call me at Cooper Hurley Injury lawyers at 757.455.0077.

CSX And Norfolk Southern Railroads’ TV Advertising Is Ironic And Pure Propaganda

By John Cooper, Norfolk Railroad Injury Lawyer

The major railroads NS (Norfolk Southern) and CSX have been advertising like crazy on the TV, at least in VA. The railroads have more money than they know what to do with. They were placing all of these commercials even during election season when the candidates were jacking up the rates for TV advertisement flooding the airways, including in Hampton Roads, VA.

The gist of the railroad’s ads is that they are good corporate citizens who are helping the environment. The reason they run these ads claiming that they are environmentally conscious because they don’t add as much pollution as trucks is because they’re very nervous that people who care about clean energy will realize that much of the business of CSX and Norfolk Southern is lugging coal from West Virginia to the ports in Norfolk and Portsmouth, VA. Coal is not a clean business no matter what their propaganda says.

A CSX train in Portsmouth, VA
A CSX train in Portsmouth, VA

The pictures of sunshine and clean engines with flowers and smiling people belies the fact that the railroads cause lots of the people who work on the trains lung diseases including cancer such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and silicosis from the various fumes and hazardous conditions that railroad workers are forced to operate in. The train crews, like engineers and conductors, are also over-exposed to diesel fumes which is a known carcinoma. The railroads have known for decades going back even before the 1950s, that asbestos and other aspects of railroading caused major health problems for their work force.

Despite the railroad companies’ knowledge about the dangers they were exposing their workers and public to as far as lung cancer and occupational illnesses, they for long stretches just put their heads in the sand and denied that there was a problem. It seems that they would just rather pay the occasional settlements and jury verdicts for people who got sick or died than to do too much to change the hazardous breathing air on the railroad.

As a FELA lawyer who is specialized in representing injured railroad workers in their accident and occupational disease cases against Norfolk Southern and CSX , I know the real story. When I watch them trying to clean up their image and make the public think they are good citizens through their ad campaigns, I cynically smile knowing what a load of bologna it is.

The Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton railroad injury/FELA law firm, Cooper Hurley, handles railroad worker’s injuries and injuries on rail crossings in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, as well as automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries and slip and fall cases, wrongful death and medical malpractice. John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in handling serious injury claims. Attorney John Cooper has been named to Virginia “Super Lawyers” since 2010.
Cooper Hurley represents families who have lost a loved one through another party’s fault in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA, and north eastern North Carolina. We always put the best interests of our clients first. The firm is recognized by other lawyers as “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, a national attorney rating service, for our top level of legal skill and highest ethical standards. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at 866-455-6657 or contact us through this website.

Railroad Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma Cases – A West Virginia Railroad Worker Injury Lawyer’s Advice

By John Cooper, West Virginia Railroad Injury Lawyer

One of the most serious types of FELA injury and wrongful death cases that we work on on behalf of railroad workers and their families in Virginia (VA), West Virginia (WV) and North Carolina (NC), are cases involving lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that only comes for exposure to asbestos.  Railroad workers especially prior to the 1990s were regularly exposed to asbestos in various crafts including car men and others in the mechanical department as well as engineers and conductors on trains.

See this video about the dangers of asbestos.

These crafts had the unfortunate circumstance of being exposed daily to this highly toxic substance without the railroad doing anything to tell the workers about what they were facing as far as future health problems.

There are lots of memos going back for decades showing that the railroad like other industries knew very well that asbestos exposure led to cancer.  Nonetheless the railroads did very little to get rid of asbestos in the railroad work environment.

In addition to asbestos there are other substances like diesel fumes which can lead to lung cancer in railroad workers.  The diesel fume exposure continues to the present.  Engineers and conductors are exposed to this carcinogenic substance daily even though the railroads have known for again decades that diesel fumes cause cancer.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by asbestos or diesel fumes on the railroad please get in touch with me so I can tell what your legal options are to pursue a FELA claim against the railroad for the harm caused to you and your family.

See this article about asbestos on our Virginia Beach Injury Lawyers site.

The Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton based railroad injury/FELA law firm, Cooper Hurley, handles railroad worker’s injuries and injuries on rail crossings in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia, as well as automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries and slip and fall cases, wrongful death and medical malpractice.  John Cooper and Jim Hurley have over 40 years of combined experience in handling catastrophic injury claims.  Attorney John Cooper has been named to Virginia “Super Lawyers” since 2010.
Cooper Hurley represents families who have lost a loved one through another party’s fault in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA, and north eastern North Carolina. We always put the best interests of our clients first. The firm is recognized by other lawyers as “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, a national attorney rating service, for our top level of legal skill and highest ethical standards. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at 866-455-6657 or contact us through this website.