Asbestos case against Amtrak done in Philadelphia, but likely to be refiled in D.C.

By Nicholas Malfitano | Mar 11, 2019

Amtrak   Courtesy of Shutterstock

PHILADELPHIA – A case involving the spouse of a former electrician for Amtrak who argued his death from colon cancer was the result of completing his work duties for Amtrak in an unsafe environment has been dismissed without prejudice.

Through a praecipe to discontinue litigation filed on Jan. 3 by plaintiff counsel Thomas J. Joyce III and mutually agreed to by all parties concerned, the lawsuit initiated by Lenola Riley against National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) was dismissed without prejudice - meaning the claim could be refiled.

“If plaintiff’s complaint is refiled within 120 days in federal court in Washington, D.C., then the filing date to be used for statute of limitations purposes in Washington, D.C. will be Sept. 11, 2018, which is the date plaintiff’s complaint was originally filed in Philadelphia in the above captioned matter," court record said.

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