Judge Rejects Railroad’s Attempt to Evade Mesothelioma Lawsuit

A District Court judge in the state of Louisiana has denied a railroad’s motion to dismiss a mesothelioma lawsuit filed against them. Judge Elizabeth Erny Footft rejected Kansas City Southern Railway’s interpretation of the law, saying that allowing it would mean that long-term employees “should be left without any available remedy for prolonged asbestos exposure arising from work on locomotives and locomotive parts.”

Railroad

Mesothelioma Blamed on Asbestos in Locomotive Parts

The lawsuit was filed against Kansas City Southern Railway (KCSR) by Dennis Bouck. Bouck had performed maintenance and repairs for the company from 1964 to 2007. He was diagnosed with the rare, asbestos-related cancer in 2020, and blamed his illness on exposure to the asbestos in the various parts within the locomotives that he worked on over four decades. Mr. Bouck sued the parts manufacturers, and separately filed a negligence claim under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) for having failed to provide him with a reasonably safe workplace.

The mesothelioma lawsuit against the manufacturers was dismissed based on the claims having been preempted by the Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA), which can establish the standard of care for FELA negligence claims. In other words, LIA protects the private manufacturers who supply railroads from liability claims by placing the responsibility for protecting railroad workers on the railroads themselves. Remarkably, KCSR attempted to have the LIA protections extend to themselves, which would have left Mr. Bouck and all other victims of asbestos exposure with nowhere to turn for justice.

Judge Refuses to Remove Railroad Workers’ Ability to Recover Mesothelioma Damages

In handing down her decision, Judge Footft wrote, “The Court declines to … completely remove a railroad worker’s ability to recover for asbestos exposure arising from work on locomotives and locomotive parts, especially considering that the LIA and FELA both have “the purpose and effect of facilitating employee recovery, not of restricting such recovery or making it impossible.” The case will move forward for a jury’s consideration.

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger

Writer

Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.

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