Railroad workers: UP should have warned of risk of smoking and asbestos exposure

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Apr. 10, 2012, 9:14am


MARSHALL - Several railroad workers are suing Union Pacific for failing to warn of the hazards associated with asbestos and silica-containing materials and for not warning of the increased hazards associated with smoking and asbestos exposure.

Lawrence C. Jenkins, Melvin D. Snoddy and Rickie L. Williams sued Union Pacific Railroad Co. on April 3 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

Jenkins worked as a trainman for Union Pacific from 1973 to 1992. Snoddy worked as a trainman from 1976 to 2005 and Williams worked as a trainman from 1976 to 1988.

The defendant is accused of negligence under the Federal Employer's Liability Act for:

  • Using asbestos or silica-containing materials;
  • Failing to inspect its machinery and equipment for the presence of asbestos or silica-containing materials;
  • Failing to remove or abate its machinery and equipment;
  • Failing to warn the plaintiffs regarding the presence of asbestos or silica-containing materials; and
  • Failing to warn the workers regarding the synergistic effect between smoking and asbestos exposure.

    Union Pacific is also accused of negligence for failing to properly train its workers, failing to provide proper respirators, failing to conduct air monitoring to determine the levels of asbestos or silica, failing to provide comprehensive medical examinations or medically monitor the plaintiffs, and for violating or disregarding its own policies or procedures regarding asbestos or silica-containing materials.

    Jenkins, Snoddy and Williams 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.

    The plaintiffs are represented by J. Kirkland Sammons of Sammons & Berry P.C. in Houston.

    A jury trial is requested.

    U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap is assigned to the case.

    Case No. 2:12-cv-00170

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