Annie Hunt Mar. 3, 2016, 1:59pm


PHILADELPHIA — The widow of a railroad worker is suing BNSF Railway Company, alleging it allowed her husband to be exposed to toxic chemicals, which resulted in his death from lung cancer.

Rhonda Thomas of Clearwater, Kansas, individually and as a personal representative of Richard C. Thomas, filed a lawsuit Feb. 25 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against BNSF Railway Company, formerly known as Burlington Northern and Santa Fe: Railway Company, alleging negligence and violations of the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, the Federal Safety Appliance Act, and the Federal Boiler Inspection Act.

According to the complaint, Richard C. Thomas was employed by the defendant, as a track man in the maintenance department. The suit says he was exposed to asbestos, excessive and harmful amounts of chemical waste, rock dust, diesel-exhaust, and other noxious airborne particles during his employment.

The lawsuit states this exposure caused Richard Thomas to develop lung cancer, which took his life. Rhonda Thomas alleges her husband’s exposure to toxic chemicals was a direct result of the defendant’s negligence and failure to ensure a safe working environment.

Rhonda Thomas seeks damages of more than $150,000 and costs of the legal action. She is represented by attorney Shawn M. Sassaman of Bern Ripka Cappelli in Conshohocken.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case number 2:16-cv-00910

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U.S. District Court of Eastern District of Pennsylvania
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Philadelphia, PA 19106

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