Pittsburg, Pa. man sues Conrail over asbestos related injuries

By Jon Campisi | Sep 30, 2011

A Pittsburg man who claims he developed non-malignant, asbestos related illnesses has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, alleging that his work duties and conditions ultimately led to his becoming ill.

Bala Cynwyd attorney Michael J. Olley, of the law firm of Coffey Kaye Myers & Olley, filed the personal injury claim Sept. 28 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Travor Thomas.

The defendants in the lawsuit are the Consolidated Rail Corp. and American Premier Underwriters, who is successor-in-interest to Penn Central Corp.

According to the complaint, Thomas worked as a flagman, conductor and trainman for Conrail from 1952 to 1975 and again from 1986 to 1992.

Thomas worked in and around the company’s shops, tracks, roundhouses and yards in Baltimore, Md.

In the scope of his employment, the lawsuit states, Thomas was exposed to asbestos dust and fibers, silica dust and/or coal dust.

“At all relevant times, Plaintiff was unaware of the dangerous propensities of asbestos dust or fibers, silica dust and/or coal dust,” the lawsuit states.

The suit claims that Thomas’s exposure to asbestos dust and fibers led to him developing non-malignant injuries and diseases.

“Plaintiff’s injuries resulted in whole or in part from the Defendant’s negligence,” the suit states. “Defendant knew, or should have known, that Plaintiff would be exposed to asbestos dust or fibers, silica dust and/or coal dust and knew that such exposures were dangerous, toxic and potentially deadly.”

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of failing to provide the plaintiff with a safe place to work, failing to furnish the plaintiff with safe and suitable tools and equipment including adequate protective masks and/or protective inhalation devices, failing to warn the plaintiff of the true nature and hazardous effects of asbestos containing products, failing to operate the locomotive repair facility in a safe and reasonable manner, failing to provide instructions or a method for the safe use of asbestos containing products, failing to provide the plaintiff with safe and proper ventilation systems in the repair facility, and failing to exercise reasonable care in publishing and enforcing a safety plan and method of handling asbestos containing products.

The complaint alleges that Thomas has suffered great pain, extreme nervousness and mental anguish, and believes his illness is permanent in nature and that he will be forced to suffer the same for the remainder of his life.

The lawsuit claims that Thomas has had to spend various amounts of money on medical treatment and that he has experienced anxiety and fear over the potential for his disease to progress beyond non-malignant status.

“Plaintiff, who was a strong and able-bodied man, has sustained a loss of earnings and earning capacity, and his ability to render services, society, affection, counseling and support to his family has been diminished, his life expectancy has been shortened, and his enjoyment of life has been impaired,” the lawsuit states.

Thomas demands judgment against the defendants in a sum in excess of $50,000.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The case number is 110903326.

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