Lawsuit: Amtrak's unsafe work environment led to husband dying from colon cancer

By Nicholas Malfitano | Dec 12, 2018

Amtrak   Courtesy of Shutterstock

PHILADELPHIA – The spouse of a former electrician for Amtrak argues his death from colon cancer was the result of completing his work duties for Amtrak in an unsafe environment.

Lenola Riley (representing the Estate of Richard Riley) of Cockeysville, Md. filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 11 versus National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) of Philadelphia.

Per the litigation, decedent Richard Riley worked for the defendant as an electrician from 1975 through 2009, helping to service Amtrak’s locomotive engines. During that time frame, Lenola alleges he was exposed to “excessive amounts of diesel exhaust/fumes, solvents, creosote and asbestos.”

Additionally, Lenola avers the cumulative exposures were behind the decedent’s later development of colon cancer, which took Richard’s life in September 2015.

“Plaintiff decedent’s exposure to diesel exhaust/fumes, solvents, creosote and asbestos, in whole or in part, caused or contributed to his development of colon cancer and lung cancer,” according to the lawsuit.

Lenola claims Amtrak violated FELA by negligently failing to provide the decedent a proper, safe place to work and failing to “minimize or eliminate plaintiff’s exposure to diesel exhaust, solvents, creosote and asbestos,” in addition to other allegations – and added less than three years before the action was filed, Lenola learned that Richard’s colon cancer was caused or contributed to by the negligence of the defendant.

Amtrak has yet to respond to the lawsuit, per Court records.

For a lone count of negligence, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 plus costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Thomas J. Joyce III and Tobi A. Russeck of Bern Cappelli, in Conshohocken.

The defendant is represented by Andrew J. Kornblau and Alexis Grose of Landman Corsi Ballaine & Ford, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180900946

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Amtrak Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas

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