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$7.5 Million Awarded to Railroad Worker With Cancer

September 30, 2016 — A railroad worker who developed cancer after exposure to toxic chemicals was awarded $7.5 million by a jury in Illinois.

The lawsuit was filed against Union Pacific Railroad Company by James Brown, a man who was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, according to the Madison-St. Cloud Record.

He says he was exposed to creosote, degreasing solvents, lead, and other toxic chemicals without adequate protective equipment.

Part of his job was picking up railroad ties and dropping them off. He says some of the ties he installed were “soaking wet” with creosote, a known carcinogen. He also washed off the ties and equipment, which left him covered “head to foot” in creosote. He says the toxic chemical soaked into his skin through his wet clothes.

Brown was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) after it progressed from Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Other health problems include bad eyes, legs and feet, weight-gain from his medication, impotence, and memory loss.

Brown worked for Union Pacific for 13 years, and another 18 years for its predecessor, Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW). Lawyers say he was eventually given a hard hat and gloves, but had no protective equipment until CNW became Union Pacific in the mid-1990s.

The lawsuit was filed on December 2, 2010 in Madison County Circuit Court, Illinois — In Re: James Brown v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.Case No. Case No. 10-L-1213..

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