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.

Cases are Settled After Chemical Exposure Leads to Cancer in Conrail, NJT Employees

John-cooperBy John Cooper, FELA Injury Lawyer

As an attorney who represents injured railroad workers across the country, I often deal with injuries on the railroads involving broken bones or spinal injuries cause by accidents or falls.

But working on the railroad can also expose you to a number of hazardous chemicals and substances which can cause serious and potentially life-threatening conditions.

Recently two cases of hazardous exposure in New Jersey were settled for $2.05 million. In the first case the plaintiff’s husband had worked for Conrail from 1980 to 1987 and for New Jersey Transit from 1997 to 2008, reported FELA Reporter. He was diagnosed with gastric cancer in 2009 and died two years later at 62.


There was a second case involving a 42-year-old worker who started working for New Jersey Transit in 1991. He was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2010 and was reported to be undergoing chemotherapy at the time of the case.

Both of the workers were trackmen. In their complaints it was alleged that a combination of pesticides, herbicides, diesel exhaust, creosote, calcium and chloride, led to their cancers. The railroad was accused of failing to warn the workers of the dangers they faced and failing to provide proper equipment. The lawsuits said no tests were carried out on the air and soil at the worksites.

Both of the cases were consolidated at trial. Conrail settled with the first plaintiff for $150,000 before jury selection. NJT settled with each plaintiff for $950,000 after jury selection.  All cases are different and we cannot guarantee the same result in a given case.

The plaintiffs were represented by Barry Eichen, William Crutchlow and Thomas Rinaldi of New Jersey.

Railroad workers come into contact with many dangerous materials. Asbestos, a material commonly used as insulation and for other purposes, caused the scarring of the lung tissue for many decades and is linked to cancer and mesothelioma. Although there has been a considerable effort to remove asbestos from homes and buildings since the 1970s, it continues to pose a grave threat to rail workers, because it was commonly used in brake shoes and to line other components of a train car. Workers who helped remove asbestos from trains back in the 1980s may have only recently developed symptoms due to their exposure more than 30 years ago. Diesel fumes on trains are also linked to cancers.

Many railroad workers know that the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) protects them if they have been injured in a railroad accident. If you’re a rail worker suffering from lung cancer or any other disease, it is important to know that it also offers a potential legal remedy if your illness can be linked to your job.  Call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (866) 455-6657.


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.