Doran & Murphy Trial News: Retired Conrail Signal Worker’s Lung
Cancer Attributed to Railroad Exposures - $4.5 Million Gross Verdict Awarded
by Ohio Jury. The Plaintiff, a 64-year-old Ohio resident, worked in the railroad signal
maintenance department for nearly 40 years. During this time, he alleged
that he was routinely exposed to asbestos, silica dust and diesel exhaust
through his work repairing and maintaining railroad signals and relays
inside signal cases located alongside Defendant’s tracks. This job
required him to drill holes in asbestos-containing boards located inside
signal cases and run wires through those holes to connect to the signal
relays he maintained. The Plaintiff alleged that while doing this job,
without respiratory protection, he was exposed to asbestos dust on a regular
basis. Additionally, his job put him in close proximity to diesel-powered
railroad track equipment, including ballast regulators and sweepers, which
stirred up silica-containing ballast dust. The Plaintiff and his coworker
testified that they often worked in clouds of silica dust and diesel exhaust.
No breathing protection was provided by the Defendant, nor was any training
given that these exposures could be hazardous to the workers.
The Plaintiff, also a long time smoker, retired from the railroad in 2013.
He was diagnosed with lung cancer in April of 2015 and filed suit under
the FELA shortly thereafter. Two years of interlocutory appeal followed
due to Ohio’s asbestos statute. After Doran & Murphy was successful
in the appeal, trial proceeded on April 24, 2018. The jury returned a
verdict in favor of the Plaintiff, awarding him: $2,038,488.40 for medical
expenses to date, $970,000.00 for future medical expenses, $1,000,000.00
for pain and suffering to date, and $500,000 for future pain and suffering;
resulting in a total verdict of $4,508,488.40. The jury also found the
Plaintiff 40% contributorily negligent for his prior history of smoking
cigarettes. Post-trial motions and/or appeals are expected.
This case demonstrated the benefits of having a treating doctor, in addition
to causation experts, opine as to the occupational causation of the railroad