Railroad worker claims diesel exposure caused leukemia, sues railroad company

By Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau | Aug 2, 2011

MARSHALL - A Tyler county resident claims his 35 years of exposure to diesel fuel and other chemicals while working on the railroad caused him to develop leukemia.

Lynard B. Harper filed suit against Union Pacific Railroad on Aug. 1 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

According to the lawsuit, Harper worked as a trainman in the Transportation Department from 1969 until 2004.

He states that during his employment he was exposed to various hazardous materials, including benzene, toluene, gasoline, diesel fuel and diesel exhaust, and as a result developed leukemia.

The defendant is accused of negligence under the Federal Employers' Liability Act for failing to provide Harper with a reasonably safe place which to work, failing to adequately warn its employees of the occupational exposure to hazardous materials, failing to comply with applicable government regulations and industry guidelines, failing to perform sufficient screening for hazardous materials or appropriate job analysis of the jobs performed and for failing to provide adequate training to Harper regarding exposure to hazardous materials.

Union Pacific is also accused of failing to establish and implement practices governing the transportation of hazardous materials and preventative maintenance guideline for tank cars, implement a procedure for loading, unloading, and securement of hazardous materials, failing to monitor the work habits and practices of its employees and failing to provide its employees with protective equipment.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, disability, physical impairment, disfigurement, embarrassment and humiliation, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life, aggravation of any pre-existing illness, court costs and interest.

Harper is represented by J. Kirkland Sammons of Sammons & Berry PC in Houston.

A jury trial is requested.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00344

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