Pennsylvania Record

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Former conductor and brakeman of 36 years settles toxic exposure suit with three companies

State Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Aug 13, 2019

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PHILADELPHIA – A former train conductor and brakeman of 36 years has settled with three rail and insurance companies which he claimed had violated the Federal Employers Liability Act, by neglecting to provide him a safe workplace and caused him to contract kidney cancer through exposure to toxic substances.

On April 16, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Ann Butchart announced that a settlement had been reached at trial in plaintiff John Pusicz’s case against American Premier Underwriters, Conrail and Norfolk Southern Railway Company. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

John Pusicz of Philadelphia initially filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 8, 2017 versus Penn Central Corporation (doing business as “American Premier Underwriters, Inc.”) c/o C.T. Corporation Systems of Harrisburg, Consolidated Rail Corporation of Philadelphia and Norfolk Southern Railway Co. of Norfolk, Va.

Pusicz worked as a conductor/brakeman for the defendants for 36 years, from 1972 through 2008. During that time, he said he “was exposed to excessive and harmful toxic substances, including diesel exhaust, benzene and/or asbestos while working as a brakeman and conductor for the defendants, in and around Philadelphia and Camden, N.J.”

The plaintiff maintained that being exposed to these toxic substances, including “diesel fumes/exhaust, benzene and/or asbestos, in whole or in part, caused or contributed to his development of kidney cancer.”

Pusicz claimed the defendants violated FELA by negligently failing to provide a reasonably safe place to work and failing “to…minimize or eliminate [John] Pusicz’s exposure to diesel exhaust, benzene and/or asbestos," among other charges.

As a result of these circumstances, Pusicz said he incurred “pain, suffering, inconvenience, irritation, annoyance, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life”, in addition to being diagnosed with and suffering from kidney cancer.

Prior to settlement and for one count of FELA violation, the plaintiff is seeking damages individually, jointly and/or severally from the defendants, for an amount in excess of $50,000 and the costs of this action.

The plaintiff was represented by Thomas J. Joyce III, Tobi A. Russeck and Luke T. Pepper of Bern Cappelli, in Conshohocken.

The defendants were represented by David A. Damico, Jeffrey A. Jackson and Patrick M. Horvat of Burns White in Conshohocken, Louis D. Abrams, Daniel L. Jones and David J. Oberley of Blank Rome, in Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170900606

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Organizations in this Story

Norfolk Southern CorporationConsolidated Rail

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