$872,000 verdict in favor of a railroad worker diagnosed with laryngeal cancer and COPD
The plaintiff, a 79-year-old retired locomotive engineer for the Detroit & Toledo Shoreline Railroad and the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, worked for the railroad from 1950 until 1991. Throughout his career, he was regularly exposed to diesel exhaust and asbestos. Years after his retirement, he was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Although the plaintiff was a long-time cigarette smoker, the attorneys at Doran & Murphy successfully argued that the plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos and diesel exhaust on Defendants’ locomotive engines caused or contributed to his throat cancer and his chronic lung disease. The railroad argued that the engineer was never exposed to harmful levels of dust or fumes during his work for the railroad and that his health conditions were a result of his long history of cigarette smoking.
The jury awarded damages in the amount of $872,000 finding that by exposing the worker to asbestos and diesel exhaust throughout his railroad career, the railroad had violated the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), and also the Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA). Consequently, the railroad could not argue that the plaintiff was partly to blame because of his long history of smoking cigarettes and was liable for the full amount.