Houston lawyer files four lawsuits against UP over workers' exposure to asbestos

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jan. 3, 2012, 9:28am


TYLER - Houston lawyer John G. Zgourides of the law firm Sammons & Berry has filed four separate lawsuits against Union Pacific regarding alleged asbestos exposure of several railroad workers.

The workers claim that they were exposed to asbestos-containing materials and as a result, have been diagnosed with asbestos-related lung diseases.

The plaintiffs are John A. Saunders, Mark W. Saunders, Edgar D. Weaver, Robert Donnell, Jesse Ford Jr., Lee H. Bell, Earnest E. Bush, John A. Hollins, Alveron Jones Sr., George B. Currington, Johnny L. Davis, Larry J. Kirkpatrick, William S. Pickering and Charles R. Monroe.

Three lawsuits were filed on Dec. 14 in federal court in Tyler and the fourth was filed in federal court in Beaumont.

The plaintiffs worked for Southern Pacific Transportation Co., St. Louis Southwestern Railway Co., Missouri Pacific Railroad Co., the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Co. and the Chicago & Northwestern Transportation Co. The men worked as trainmen, engineers or carmen sometime from 1960 until 2006.

Union Pacific is accused of negligence under the Federal Employers' Liability Act for using asbestos-containing materials for decades after becoming aware of hazardous and harmful nature of the materials, for failing to inspect its equipment for the presence of asbestos-containing material, and for failing to remove asbestos-containing material from its equipment.

The defendant is also accused of negligence for failing to warn of the presence of asbestos-containing material, failing to warn of the synergistic effect between smoking and asbestos exposure, failing to properly train employees, failing to provide proper respirators, failing to conduct air monitoring, failing to provide comprehensive asbestos medical examinations, failing to medically monitor the plaintiffs and for violating its own policies regarding the asbestos materials.

The plaintiffs are asking for an award of damages for medical expenses, mental anguish, physical pain and suffering, fear of cancer, physical impairment, court costs and interest.

Houston attorney J. Kirkland Sammons of Sammons & Berry is also representing the plaintiffs.

Jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the cases.

Case Nos. 6:11-cv-00669; 6:11-cv-00670; 6:11-cv-00671; 1:11-cv-00718

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