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44 PAGES • A GANNETTNEWSPAPER • LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY www.courler-Journal.com MONDAY,MAY14, 2001 • 50 CENTS

THETOXICWORKPLACE
Railroaders, solvents
andsickness

Doctors
linkillness
tosolvents
Somedisagreethat
exposurecauses
brain damage
Second of four parts

ByJAMES BRUGGERS
The Courier-Journal
It began as a trickle of pat ients
in the late 1980s and quickly
turned into a flood.
Indepen dently, medical special-
ists working in six states came to
the same conclusion: Hund reds of
railroad workers had suffered
brain damage.
The workers' symptoms were
alarming: lack of short-te rm mem-
ory, poor balance, moodiness, irri-
tability and decreased mental
function.
After ruling out other explana-
tions, the speciali lltS determined
the most likely cause was work-
. ers' persistent, heavy ~xpos~re to
,. the solvents used m railroad
maintenance shops.
"The evidence is very clear in
my view," said Dr. Howard Frum-
kin, professor and chairman of
the Department of Environmental
and Occupatio nal Health at
Emory University's School of Pub-
lic Health in Atlanta.
"There are dozens of studies
that show evidence of chronic
neuro logical deficits following
high-dose solvent exposure. Sev-
THECOURIER✓OURNAL
BY PAMSPAULDING, eral international consensus state -
CSX has found its strongest medical ally in Dr. James Albers, a neurologist at the University of Michigan in Ann ments reach that conclusion, and
Arbor who has concluded that none of the workers he examined suffered from solvent-Induced brain damage. most major textbooks in the field
now describe the syndrome as es-
tablished."
INSIDE "The evidence is very clear in
my view. There are dozens of
And it's likely, the doctors say,
that severa l thousand railroad ers
who worked with these chemica ls
MIXTURE: CSX had been studies that show evidence of since the 1960s have similar but
cautioned about chemical undiagnosed brain damage.
interaction . chronic neurological deficits fol- The worker diagnoses, first
CONCERNS: A doctor lowing high-dose solvent expo- made 15 years ago, se_tin !llot\~n
warned about the dangers a little -noticed but epic sc1ent1flc
of solvents In the 1960s. sure." and legal battle over whet~er
- Dr. Howard Frumkin, Jong-term, heavy exposu re to in -
RESEARCH: Studies dustrial solvents such as trichlor-
proposed in 1996 remain professor and chair of the Departmentof oethylene, 1,1,1-trichlorethane and
undone. Environmental and Occupational Healthat Emory See SOME
Stor ies Page 9 University's Schoolof PublicHealth in Atlanta Page 8, col. 1, this section

YESTERDAY: ThePeopleandtheProblem TODAY: TheScience TOMORROW: TheLaw WEDNESDAY: Solvent


s: Societyat Risk
I I

8 THE COURIER-JOURNAL• FROM PAGE ONE• MONDAY, MAY 14, 2001

THETOXICWORKPLACE
Railroaders,
solventsand sickness

Somedoctorslinkillnessesto solvents,butothersdisputediagnoses
Continuedfrom PageOne only waged in medicaljournals.
It also movedinto the courts.
perchloroethylene could have
given workers toxic encephalo-
pathy - a form of permanent
Dirty trains, toxic chemicals In a pivotal 1995hearing, an
internationally recognizedphy-
sician who played a key role in
brain damage. . · Whenchlorinatedsolventswere introducedin the 1930s, they were regardedas powerful,non-flammable"miracle the government's understand-
Through their courtroom tes- cleaners." Medicalresearchhas since shownthey are also harmfulto the liverand kidneys.Some medical re earch has in~ of solvent neurotoxicity tes-
timony and sworn depositions, also linked long term exposureto chlorinatedsolventssuch as those below to long-lastingor permenantdarr1ageto the tified on behalf of workers.
some of the country's top ex- ppm: Paria~r million. A way of Dr. Edward L. Baker Jr., a
measuring tiny amountsof a brain and peripheral nervoussystem.
perts on solvents have opened former Harvard University pro-
up for debate an issue impor- Overthe last 50 years, railroadcompanieshave used a seriesof solventsto clean greaseand oil from locarnotives. CSX
chemicalif! air or water.One part fessor and former de{luty direc-
tant not only to railroaders but TransportationInc. officials,tor example, say they switchedchemicalsas newer,saferor better products beoHme available.
. per millionIs equivalentto the tor of NIOSH, testified at a
to current and future workers concentrationof one-halftablet ot J hearing before Davidson Coun-
CARBON TETRACHLORIDE
r-
in industries from dry cleaners aspirin disijolved ih a full bathtub ty (Tenn.) Circuit Court Judge
to semiconductor manufactur- of water,, or, about on!;Iminutein • One of the first solventsused on the railroad,carbon tet fell out of popular use by the 1960s. Now bannedin most con- Marietta M. Shipley, overseeing
ers. two years. sumer products becauseof its toxic qualities, carbon tet is still used to manufactureother chemicals. 82 CSX solvent cases,to deter-
Florida-basedCSX Transpor- Health effects: Believedto be cancer-causing.Low exposureirritatesthe eyes, nose, throat and skin. Higfl exposure mine if toxic encephalopathy
tation Inc., the railroad com- , OSHA PI L: The maximum " per-
missible exposure limit'' set by the can causeliver,kidney and centralnervoussystemdamage.Alcoholconsumption greatly increaseshealthri§ks. diagnoses were the result of
pany that has been the target of Exposure guide line s: OSHAPEL: 10 ppm; NIOSHREL:Reduceexposureas much as possible;ACGIHfl- V: 5 ppm "junk science."
more than 600 solvent lawsuits . OccupationalSafetyand Health Baker pointed to evidence of
and claims, disagrees that the Administration. the federalgovern- solvent toxicity, including de-
degreasing chemicals .made ment'sworkplacesafetyagency. TRICH LOROETHYLENE (TCE) pression and memory problems
anyone·ill. This is the legallimitemployees Still a popularmetaldegreaser,TCEwas used by railroad companiesin machines called "vapor phasedegr8asers," where showing up as early as the 19th
CSX considers the medical may be exposedto in any OSHA- parts were loweredinto heatedsolventfumesfor cleaning.The chemicalalso was used as an all-purposecleaner. CSXoffi- century among Frenchworkers.
problemscited b:r-their employ- .regulatedworkplace, averaged cials said its use was discontinuedin the 1970s. Reports of simil ar problems
ees who filed claims merely the overan eight-hourwork day, Health effects: Believedby some public healthagenciesto be cancer-causing.Low exposureirritateseyes, nose, throat increased in· the 20th century.
physicalinsults of age. NIOSH REL: The "recommend- and skin. High exposuredamagesliver, kidney and centralnervoussystem. Dozens of medical studies on
"Some of them have adult- ed exposurelimlt" sel by the Exposure guidelines: OSHAPEL:100 ppm; NIOSH REL:25 ppm; ACGIH TLV: 50 ppm the effects of solvents led to
onset diabetes," said JosephM. . two international conferences
Ke11y,.senior director of CSX's NationalInstitutetor
Occupa1ionalSafetyand Aealth, PERCHLO ROET HYLENE (PCE) in 1985, one of them organized
risk management department. by tJ:ieWorld Health Organiza-
" Some of them have hyperthy- .a fed~ralagencythat makes rec- The chemicalused by most dry-cleanerstoday, PCEwas was used in vapor degreasersand, on the L&N railroad,was tion, said Baker, currently as-
roidism, untreated. Some of ommendationsto .OSHA.The· mixedwith 1,1,1-trichlorethaneto makea cleanercalled L&N No. 3 that workerssprayedor swabbed onto locomotivesto sistant surgeon general in
them have high blood pressure, recommendedlevel, averaged clean them. CSXsaid it stopped using L&N No. 3 in the mid-1980s. charge of the public health
untreated." overa 10-hourwork day, does Health effects: Suspectedof causingcancer. Breathinghigh concentrations may cause central nervous systemeffects practice program at the Centers
" ... And yes, when they go not havethe force of law. NIOSH such as dizziness, headacl'\e,nauseaand difficulty in speakingand walking. Long-term exposure can damage kidneyand for DiseaseControl and Preven-
in and see (an occupationaland stan~.:t rds tend to be more liver, and has been associatedwith reproductivedisorders. tion in Atlanta.
environmental medicine spe- restrictivethan OSHA's because They were follo wed, Baker
Exposure guldellnes: OSHAPEL: 100 ppm; NIOSH REL: Reduce exposureas much as possible; ACGIH TLV: 25 ppm
cialist with a bias) thef get the N!OSH's recommendationsare testified, by a 1987NIOSH bul-
right type of diagnosis.' letin that stated there were
The company has found its :. science-based,whereasOSHA 1,1,1-TRICHLOROETHANE (TCA)
11
J11Ust by law considerthe cost for " statistically signifi cant · in•
strongest medical ally in Dr. Phasedout nationwidebeginningin 1996 becauseof its ozone-depletingqualities, TCA once wasa popularall-purpose creases in neurobehavioral ef-
James Albers, a neurologist at ;, employersto implementan expo- degreaserbecauseof Its relativelylow toxicity.Used by CSXin bulk form, alone and mixed with PCE, until tho mid-1980s,
sure level. fects in workers chronically ex-
the University of Micnigan and in aerosolform until the earlyto mid-1990s. posedto organicsolvents."
School of Medicine who w.as ACGIHTLY: The "threshold Health effects: Breathinghigh levelsmay causeheartarrhythmiaand kidney and liver damage. Central nervoussystem Baker further testified that
hir ed by CSX to test workers . limit value," averagedover an depressant, causingdizziness, nausea, vomitingand diarrhea. the 1988 Gade publication '~in
who were suing the company. : eight-hourwork day. determined EXl"SUre guidelines: OSHAPEL:350 ppm; NIOSHREL:not set; ACGIH TLV: 350 ppm no way takes away from the
In the last several years, .. by a privatoprofessJonal group, (other studies) that have helped
Albers artd his colleague, neur- ,;,• the AmericanConferenceof j
MINERAL SPIRITS establishthe link betweenlong-
opsychologist Stanley Berent,
examined dozens of previously
· GovernmentalIndustrial ! A petroleum-derived solventconsideredlesstoxic than its chlorinatedcousins,mineral spirits are now the only type of sol- term solvent exposure and
: Hyglenists. OSHAadopted many . } brain damage."
diagnosedrailroad workers and
concluded none suffored from . of ACG!H's recommendedlimits - f vent still used by CSX.
Health effects: Breathingfumes may causecentral nervoussystem impairment, including headaches,dizzinessand
After four days of testimonY.,·
sol:V ent-inducedbrain damage. in the 1970s,but since then, Shipley sided with the railr.oad-
Albers, who is co-director of AGGIHhas revisedsome of its j prolongedreactiontime. Irritateseyes, skin and throat.Repeatedexposuremay cause a rare type of anemia in some peo- ers. "This is not 'junk ~ci-
the medical school's Neurobe- · standa(ds , making them !Qwer j ple. . ence,' " Shipley ruled. "It is
OSHAPEL:500ppm;NIOSHREL: 60 ppm; ACGIHTLV: varies100-300
liavioral Toxicology Program, , than OSHA's. I Exposure guidelines : ppm groundedin scientific theory."
{::SXapp~aledto the Tennes-
summedup his meaical O{linion
in a 1998 Louisville tnal in
which former Kentucky rail-
. ----·
SOURCES: NationalSafetyCouncil's Crossroadsdatabase; Agencyfor Toxic Substancesand DiseaseControl'sToxFAQs and chemical profiles; U.S. Environmental
see Supreme Court, which I.IP·
held Shipley's ruling. Then the
road worker Gary Stone was companytried, but failed, to $et
ProtectionAgency; U.S. OccupationalHealthand SafetyAgency; Occupational & EnvironmentalNeurotoxicologybyRobertG. Feldman, 1999; Halogent1tedSolvents the U.S. Supreme Court to in-
seeking compensation for his IndustryAlliance;EnvironmentalDefense'sScorecard;AmericanConferenceof GovernmentalIndustrialHygienists;ToxicsA to Z: A Guideto Everyday Pollution tervene. _
toxic encephalopathydiagnosis. Hazards,by John Harte, CherylHoldren,RichardSchneider,ChristineShirley;NewJerseyDepartmentof Healthand Senior Services'hazardous substance fact
"All of us have been in the In 1998and 1999, the railroad
sheets;variousMaterialSafetyDataSheets,staff research. company settled 81 of the 82
situation ... where someneigh-
bor, will come up with het Nashvillesolvent cases.
spouseand you can't remember
his name, although you have EXPOSUREDEBATED
lq}own that personfor 10years. Amountto cause brain
''You probably don't go home How solvents affect the body damage part of dispute
and say, my God, I'm brain-
damaged," Albers told the jury. ROUTES OF EXPOSURE: Part of the medical dispute
has centered on how heavily
But Dr. Douglas H. Linz, .
medical director for TriHealth workers were exposed tQ _sof-
Corporate Health Services. in vents and how much exposure
Cincinnati and adjunct.associ- was needed for a toxic effect.
ate professor at the University Stopher, Albers and CSX of-
of Cincinnati College ofMedi- ficials don't dispute that severe
Centralnervoussystem• Maycause overexposure to these solvents
cine, said the problem is more irritability,nervousness, weakness,
than normal forgetfulness. can cause permanent brain
tiredness,dizziness, sleeplessness, damage. But they say it re-
"My wife tells me I need to disorientation, confusion,
go to the store and pick up quires oxygen deprivation to
unconsciousness,changes in thinking, the point of the person falling
three items," Linz said, ,.giving memory and personality. into a coma. ~
an example of how a worker
might be affected. "She gives Court testimony from work-
me a list with those three items Respiratorysystom • May produce ers and their supervisors, inter-
written down. bronchitis, chronic cough views and internal company
" I drive to the store. I go into documents suggest that many
the store, forget why I'm there. Peripheralf1ervoussystem - railroaders were heavily ex-
I forget I havea list. ome solvents damage nerves posed to solvents over many
"I buy five items, only one of in muoctes and sensory years.
which happens to be on the list. Neuropsychologl st Marc Haut of WestVirginia Universityfound organs, cousingweakness, In addition, the workers' doc-
And then I walk home from the evidence that a PETscan may show solvent-Induced damage. lossof sensation, and paralysis tors have conclued that work-
store, forgetting that I drove." ers suffered brain damageeven
rologists don't know enough if they didn't fall into a coma.
Eyes-
CLAIMS SUPPORTED about how chemicals affect the
nervoussystem to make that di- Causes - --- Liver - May causea typ~
Many workers reported feel-
ing dizzy, lightheaded and nau-
Expertise,equipment agnosis. irritation, of hepatitis. seous and needing fresh air to
for diagnosisdebated Dr. Robert G. Feldman, pro- burning recover, the doctors said. This
Dr . Alan Ducatman, an occu- fessorof neurology, pharmacol- Cancer- Somestudies link type of exposure over a sus-
pational and environmental ogy and environmental health, Heart -
solvent exposureto cancer,especially tained period could be acute
medicine specialist and chair- and chairman emeritu s of the Can cause of the liver or kidney enough to causemild to severe
man of the Department of Department of Neurology at the arrhythmia. permanent brain damage, doc-
Community Medicine at West Boston University School of Kidney- May causepermanent damage tors such asDucatmansaid.
Virginia University School of Medicine, said many rely too " Yes, people passedout. and
Medicine in Morgantown, said heavily on medical tests, such Skin - Reproductive system- Somesolvents yes, the fresh-air break to clean
he began diagnosing railroad as MRI brain scans, that aren't Breaksdown fat and are believedto causemiscarriages, one's headwas part of the job,"
workers with toxic encephalo- sensitive enough to reveal oil in skin, causing fertilityproblemsor birth defects said Ducatman, the West Vir-
ginia University doctor.
pathy sevenyears ago.
"A physician in a small town
chemical-causedproblems.
"Neurologists don't know
in Maryland, who I never had better," Feldmansaid.
dermatitis

SOURCE: American Lung


f •- Blood• Some solvents m?Ydamage
blood cells, causinganemia
CSX, meanwhile, said that
the solvent fumes, which were
heard of, sent me three _patients In fact, diagnosing toxic en- Association , staffresearch rarely monitored, never
on the same day, whlch was cephalopathy requires such Skin • Becomesthick, reachedacutelevels.
very unusual," Ducatman said. specialized knowledge and ex- BYJOANNE MESHEW, Tl1E C✓ dry, hard, cracked Railroad officials maintain
" So I called the guy up and pe1iencethat there are relative- PHOTOS BY PAMSPAULDING, THE C✓
that feeling dizzy, li~ht-headed,
said, 'What do you think about ly few doctors in the United Dr. Douglas H. Linz of nauseous - needing to_ get
thesethree men? States who are considered ex- Cincinnati supports the SOLVENTRESEARCH painters previously diagnosed ceeded federal limits, as they fresh air - does not constitute
"He said, 'If you think these perts in the field, Feldman said . diagnosis of toxic with brain damage. believe the CSX railroad work- the kind of heavy, acute expo-
Some studiesshow "Previous impressionsof sig- ers were.
guys are interesting, I have an- Examining doctors need to encephalopathy.
sure neededto produce perma•
other 50.'"
no link, othersdo nificant intellectual impairment And, the Albers study nent brain damage.
understand the central and pe- With CSX in the lead, the could not be confirmed," Gade tracked workers only for six Peter Spencer,a neurotoxico•
Linz was working full time at ripheral nervous systems as eluded, researchershad consis-
the the University of Cincinnati railroad companies have at- concluded. years; most railroaders with logist at Ore~on Health Sci-
tently found neurobehavioral
in the early 1990s when CSX well as toxicology, epidemiolo- deficits in solvent-exposed tacked the toxic encephalo- Stopher called the Gade arti - settlements claimed exposure ences University and co-editpr
asked him to becomeinvolved. gy and occupational medicine, workers. pathy diagnoses as emanating cle "a retraction," and said that over 10years, he said. of "Experimental and Clinical
The company sent him four Feldmansaid. from ''junk science." it all but ended the scientific Albers and his co-authors ac- Neurotoxicology," a widely
CSX workers who had been di- Dr. Go,effrey A. Kelafant, an To get around the limitations CSX points to a 1979 study debateon toxic encephalopathy knowledgedas much in the two used medical school textbook,
agnosed with toxic encephalo- occupational and environmental of traditional diagnostic tools, by Scandinavian researcher P. worldwide. articles, which concluded that disafeed.
pathy and who had claims medicine specialist in Mattoon, such as MRis and EEGs, some Ar lein-Soborg of 70 house He also pointed to two re- their inabilit y to replicate the "I m not sure that (the CSX)
pending a~ainstthe company. 111., explained the complexities doctors are exploring other painters exposedto organic sol- search studies, one published in Scandinavian studies "could position can be sustained any
The railroad asked Linz to of a toxic encephalopathydiag- technology. vents over many years. The Ar- 1985and the other in 1987, that have been due to the shortness longer," said Spencer, who di-
perform an independent medi- nosis in a 1994 article published Last year, for example, neur- lein-Soborg research identified Albers · participated in that of the duration of workers' ex- rects the Portland university's
cal evaluation. Linz confirm ed in the Journal of Industrial opsychologist Marc Haut of brain damage in 39 of the looked at furniture makers, posure''.and other factors. Center for Research on Occu-
they had solvent-related brain Medicine. WestVirg inia University School workers, and named the illness printers and automotive work- But the Michi gan doctor pational and Environmental
damage. " The exposures are often of Medicine found evidence "chron ic painters' syndrome," ers in the United States. pointed to two other studies Toxicology and who has not
CSX never sent Linz ·any mixed, and the exposure levels that a newer kind of imaging or toxic encephalopathy. The research by Albers and that he published in 1999 and been involved in solvent law-
more patients. The company are often unknown or unreli- called digitized positron emis- The study made quite a several co-authors, supported 2000 that examined railroad suits.
then retained Albers at the Uni- able," he wrote as lead author sions tomography - a PET splash in the scientific and by the National Instit ute for Oc- workers who had been diag- " I think ... we need to ac•
versity of Michigan. of the article. scan - may reveal solvent-in- medical communities,said Lou- cupational Safety and Health nosed with toxic encephalo- cept, that three to IO years of
"We live in a consumer-sup- Kelafant, while worki ng at ducedbrain damage. isville attorney Edward H. (NIOSH), found no link be- pathy and had been sent to him gross overexposure may result
plier marketplace for medical Cardinal Hill Rehabilitati on Wit h several co-authors, in- Stopher, who has been han- tween solvents and brain dam- in connectionto the lawsuits. in persistentdeficits."
opinions," said Linz about the Hospital in Lexington, Ky., cluding Ducatman, Haut pub- dling many of CSX's solvent age. None of them has the ill- And that's what happened
CSX decision not to use him identified 28 rail road workers lished a study last year in the casesand said he has defended "Epidemiological studies are ness,he concluded. w ith the railroaders, many of
anymore. He later testified for who he believed had suffered journal Neuropsychology, at least two against the Norfolk inconsistent, and this so-called Those studies were funded in whom worked. in pits beneath
workers claiming brain qamage Southernrailroad. painters' syndromehas not been part by CSX and carry a dis- locomotives where heavier-
from solvent exposure. ' brain damage from solvent use. which concluded that the What followed, said Stopher, reproduciblewith any statistical claimer: "Th e authors have at than-air solvent fumes settled,
CSX has strongly maintained "Symptoms such as moodi- brains of many railroad work-
was a flurry of other research significance to any degree of times been retained as consul- s?id Lihz, the Cincinnati physi-
that only neurologists such as ness, fatigue and irritabi lity are ers showed signs of impair- in several countries, including reliability," Stophersaid. tants by finn s or companies cian.
Albers - who specialize in the non-specific and difficult to ment. the United States, seeking to Physicians such as Frumkin, concerned with the manufac- "The dose was, in fact, very
structure, function and diseases evaluate.Other symptoms such " The study would generally replicate the Arlein-Soborg re- Linz and Ducatmandisagree. ture or use of solvents.'' high, both in terms of intensity
of the nervous system - are as impaired memory and de- support the idea that the frontal sults. Linz pointed out that Albers' as well as duration," Linz said.
qualifi ed to diagnose toxic en- creased concentration may re- lobes don't seem to be working Then in 1988,one of the co- 1985 and 1987 studies, pub- LEGALBAffLES "At times people passedout. At
cephalopathy. quii:e lengthy and expensive correctly," Haut said, adding authors of the Arlein-Soborg lished in the British Journal of times people became so con-
But a neurologist who has neuropsychological testing to that the research needs to be research - A. Gade - pub- Industrial Medicine, involved Tennesseecourt rulings fused and disoriented they
not been involvei:I in the rail- corroborate." duplicated before it it can be lished a follow-up articl e based workers who were never ex- lead to settlements needed to be extricated by co-
road liti gation said many neu- Nevertheless, Kelafant con- consideredconclusive. on a re-evaluation of 20 of the posed to acute levels that ex- The scientifi c battle was not workers."
I I

• FROM PAGE ONE • MONDAY,MAY14, 2001


THE COURIER..JOURNAL 9

THETOXICWORKPLACE
Railroaders,
solvents
andsickness

HANDLING OF CHEMICALS MEDICAL CONCERNS

CSXcautioned Mayodoctor
warnedof
abouthighly harmin '60s
toxicmixture ByJAMESBRUGGERS
The Courier-Journal
The railroad industry's doctors
ByJAMESBRUGGERS "In the waste system when have known about neurological and
The Courier-Journal they're all floating down, they other disorders involving solvent-
would be mixed." exposed workers at least since the
Railroad workers could al- Martine RoBards, the Louis-
ways tell when the caustic mid-1960s.
ville neuropsychologist, said
soaps and degreasing solvents she believes that while heavy A transcript of an annual meet-
applied side-by-side to clean use of the degreasing solvents ing of the nation's railroad medical
locomotives sometimesmixed. by themselves harmed her 90 directors in 1965includes the men-
The fluid would be "running railroad patients, their likely tion of a warning letter from a doc-
down the same ~utter, boiling tor at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota
as it went, stinking," said mixture with caustic soaps,
Larry Elmore, who led a safety heat and light added to the se- to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad,
committee at the Louisville & verity of their problems. which later became part of CSX
Nashville Railroad's Louisville Unlike workers exposed to TransportationInc.
shops in the 1970s. TCA over 10, 20 or 30 years The Mayo doctor, who was not
"We didn't have a name for and diagnosed with toxic en- identified in the transcript, said he
it, but we just knew you better cephalopathy, some of Ro- had seen a number of patients with
get the hell out of Dodge." Bards' patients were exposed heavy exposure to volatile hydro-
By 1981, after L&N had be- for as little as two years, she carbons and solvent mixtures who
come a subsidiary of CSX said.
Corp.,the companyunderstood "My perception is at this had peripheral neuritis, a nerve in-
there could be a problem, too. point anyone who was ex- flammationof the arms and legs.
Mixing the industrial sol- posed two years at severe lev- The condition can weaken and
vent 1,1,I-trichlorethane (f CA) els has a permanent neurologi- waste the muscles, produce a loss
with alkaline substances cal disability,"RoBards said. of sensation, decrease reflexes and
(brown or pink or 1-LAsoaps) cause pins-and-needles-typepain.
produced fumes far more toxic Some had previously been
than those from TCA alone, diagnosed with other illnesses, It has affected some of the rail-
company industrial hygienist such as Parkinson's disease, road workers who have been diag-
Mark E. Badders wrote on depression and anxiety disor- nosed with toxic encephalopathy in
Aug. 17, 1981, to Dr. Charles der, and even multiple sclero- the past decade, including Stephen
A. Mead, who was chief medi- sis, she said. Penrod, 49, of Ridgeley,W.Va.
cal officer. RoBards got involved in
CSX acknowledges settling 1999, she said, based on what Penrod worked in the B&O/CSX
466 solvent-exposure claims, former CSX employee Deb- shops in Cumberland, Md., from
with 80 pending, and paying a orah Schleicher, 44, told her 1969to 1997, much of that time, he
total of up to $35 million in about conditions in the Louis- said, without respiratory protection.
awards to current or former ville shops. Schleicher, of "I have no reflexes ... and no feel-
workers who were diagnosed Clarksville, Ind., was the first ing in my extremeties."
with toxic encephalopathy. It woman to win a machinist cer- Accordingto the transcript of the
denies any link between sol- tification at the South Louis- Association of American Railroads
vents and brain damage. ville Shops. She was later pro-
Badders' memo may figure meeting, the B&Omedical depart -
in a new round of lawsuits moted to foreman, then to ment asked for clarification from
stemming from a research safety director. the Mayo Clinicdoctor, who replied
project by a Louisville neuro- Her attorney, Willinm Ken- that he believed "there is a rela-
psychologist. In it, Badders in- ealy of Louisville, declined to tionship between peripheral neuri-
dicated be was concerned allow Schleicher to be inter- tis and exposure to hydrocarbons
about the formation of '' irri- viewed. PHOTOS BY PAMSPAU~NG , THECOURillhl OURNAL in these instances."
tant gases" hydrogen chloride, RoBards said she felt the Martine RoBards, a Louisville neuropsychologlst, believesthe mixingof solventswith caustic soaps, heat and light added
pnosgene and dichloroacety- need to corroborate to the severity of worker ailments. RoBardsand anotherresearcherhave presentedtwo scientificpaperson their findings. The doctor's letter went on to say
lene. Schleicher's story, so she be- one patient who had been exposed
Dichloroacetylene is so toxic gan to contact some of to solvents at work developed "se-
the Occupational Safety and Schleicher's fonner co-work- vere" neuritis, and said the condi-
Health Administration sets the ers and found they had the tion went away after the exposure
maximum permissible expo- same symptoms. RoBards ran stopped.
sure limit at one part per mil- the workers through tests to Later at the meeting, Dr. I. Kap•
lion; it's 350 parts per million measure memory, attention,
forTCA. Ian, medical director at B&O,noted
Phosgene has been a chemi- concentration, motor skills that men working in the pits have
cal warfare agent. Its OSHA and perception. become unconscious through inhal-
limit is even lower: 0.10 parts Along with co-researcher lation of volatile hydrocarbons such
per million. and neuropsychologist Chris- as trichloroethylene, carbon tetra•
The OSHA limit for hydro- topher Allen of Lexington, Ro-
Bards presented two scientific chloride and 1,1,1-trichlorethane.
gen chloride, which is corro-
sive to the eyes, skin, and mu- papers on their findings at the "They act as anesthetics, and in
cous membranes, is 5 parts 29th annual meeting of the In- addition can exert their toxic effec.t
per million. ternational Neuropsychologi- on the health through cardiac
CSX officials told The Cou- cal Society in Chicago in Feb- standstill," Kapla n noted.
rier-Journal that they were not ruary. By the 1940s,after the introduc-
aware that workers ever Three of RoBards' patients tion of chlorinated solvents, the na-
mixed the solvents or that the have filed lawsuits: Schleicher, tion's industrial hygienists began
practice might result in health David Ray Burton of Oldham
problems. recommending limited exposure to
County and Terry Williams of solvent fumes and proper ventila-
"I've never heard any com- Corbin, Ky.
plaint about the two of them tion and respiratory protection.
being mixed," said Joseph M. Louisville attorney Edward
H. Stopher, who represents At the same 1965 meeting, Kap-
Kelly, senior director of the lan, the panel moderator, acknowl-
CSX risk management depart- CSX, said he would closely
scrutinize the theory that mix- edged that "even today, not all
ment. shops are equipped with ventilatocy
However, Kelly acknowl- ing solvents with caustic PHOTOCOURTESY
OF LARRYELMORE
edged that the caustic soap soaps, heat and light creates Deborah Schleicher, fans, and not all fans are in work-
and degreasing solvents would medical problems if the plain- pictured here in the 1980s, John O'Bannon, right, who workedat the South LouisvilleShops , attended a presentat ion ing order," and that "men are actu-
have mixed in drains leading tiffs' lawyers raise these issues went from the shops ' safety on solvent exposure at the University of Louisville. He talked with attorney William ally working under conditions less
to the facility's sewer system. in court. director to solvent plaintiff. Kenealy, left, and study co-author Michael RoBards, son of Martine RoBards. than ideal."

LACK OF COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH


GLOSSARY
OF TERMS
CHLORINATED SOLVENTS:
Exposurestudies proposedby panel in '96 remain undone
Powerfuldegreasers manufac- ByJAMESBRUGGERS
tured by combiningchlorinecom- The Courier-Journal
pounds withhydrocarbonsol-
vents to make them less flamma- Alarmed by sick railroad
ble and more efficient. workers showing up by the
hundreds at health clinics in
four states, doctors, govern-
TOXIC ENCEPHALOPATHY : ment officials, researchers and
A formof braindamage charac- railroad representatives met in
terized by short-termmemory 1996to discuss how to investi•
loss, depression, anxiety,loss of gate solvent exposure.
balance, diminishedmentalfunc- They proposed three main
tion and sometimes nerve dam- steps:
age in the arms and legs. • Survey health and safety
conditions in the industry, fo.
OSHA: The U.S. Occupational cusing initially on CSX Trans-
Safetyand HealthAdministration, portation Inc.
created by Congress in 1970 to • Convene a panel of labor,
regulateworkplacesafety. It sets management, government and
acceptable exposure levels for academic representatives to
toxicworkplacechemicals. stimulate and oversee re-
search.
NIOSH: The NationalInstitute for • Establish a registry of
OccupationalSafetyand Health. railroad workers to identify
It studies workplacehazards and participants in studies.
recommends changes to OSHA. Five years later, nothing has
BY MARYANN LVONS, THECOURIER·JOURNAL
been done.
No industry survey was ever Joseph Kelly, seniordirectorof risk management at CSX,
NEUROLOGY : The branch of undertaken. No research com- said a health and safety reviewwas no longer needed
medicineconcerned withthe mittee was established. And becausethe railroadhas stoppedusing chlorinated solvents.
structure,functionand diseases no registry of railroad workers
of the nervoussystem. was created. rector of risk management at chairman of the Department
"Follow-up was both justi- CSX, said an investigation of Community Medicine at
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH fied and necessary," said Dr. was no longer needed. That's West Virginia University
AND ENVIRONMENTAL Howard Frumkin, professor because CSX, the railroad School of Medicine in Mor-
MEDICINE: The branch of med- and chainna n of the Depart- BY PAM$PAULDINGTHECOURIER-JOU
RNAL with the largest number of iantown and the other organ-
icine concerned withworkplace ment of Environmental and Dr. Alan Ducatmanof the West Virginia UniversitySchool of Medicine In Morgantown , right, with solvent exposure claims, izer of the 1996 meeting, said
illnesses;frequentlydeals with Occupational Health at Emory patient John Collins, said a continuingneed exists for research on how solvents affect humans. stopped using chlorinated sol- there is a continuing need for
long-termexposure to noxious University's School of Public vents in bulk in the rnid-1980s, study on :how solvents affect
Health in Atlanta, and presi- ganizer of the meeting. ticipants to lead research ef- tended the meetin~, said there and in spray cans by the early humans.
substances. dent of the American Associ- For the National Institute forts, it became a question of wasn't enough evidence pre- to mid-1990s, he said. The railroaders would have
ation of Occupational Clinics for Occupational Safety and competing priorities, said Fred sented to make him believe The three other major U.S. providedthat chance, he said.
HEUROPSYCHOLOGY : The at the time of the meeting. Health, which paid for the Blosser,agency spokesman. the problem warranted an in- railroads have snid they too "Normallyto do this kind of
branch of psychologyconcerned "There is still a lot we need 1996 meetini in Washington, David Otto, an Environmen- vestigation, given NIOSH's have stopped using chlorinat- experiment," he said, "you·d
withbrain-behaviorrelationships. to know about that industry," D.C. and which was identified tal Protection Agency neuro- tight budget. ed solvents. have to go to the developing
said Frumkin, who was co-or- as "well-positioned" by par- toxicology researcher who at- .Joseph M. Kelly, senior di- But Dr. Alan Ducatman, world."
.'

Page 10

44 PAGES • A GANNETTNEWSP.tt' ER • LOUISVILLE,KENTUCKY www.c ourier -journal.com TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2001 • 50 CENTS

THETOXICWORKPLACE
Railroaders,
solvents andsickness

Sick workers win payments


after long, difficultbattles

BY PAM SPAULDING, THE COURIER.JOURNAL


Attorney F. Tucker Burge looked through some case records in his firm's Birmingham, Ala., offices. He and
partner James H. Wettermark have won settlements for about 300 railroaders and one jury award of $1.1 million.

Settlementswith CSX total about $35million


Third of four parts
ONLINE INSIDE
By JAMES BRUGGERS To read the series onllne go to CLAIMS:
The Courier-Journal www.c
ourler-journal.com Railroaders .,
aren't
BIRMINGHAM,Ala. - From covered by
the 23rd floor of the tallest to workers, the com/aanysaid. workers'
downtown office building , attor- "I think to this ay, CSX and compensatio n
neys F. Tucker Bur~e and James their lawyers believe every one and must file
H. Wettermark in l 89 launched of these cases was bo~s," Wet- suits under a
a hiih-stakes legal battle against termark said. "And I now they 1908 law. 11
a railroad giant. blame us. They think somehow LOUISVILLE
The reverberation s are still we concocted this whole thing,
being felt. which is preposterous." MAN: Forme r
This firm of seven attorneys The latest big-money solvent worker lost
spent more than a half-million victory for the railroaders came his case as
dollar s in research, depositions in late November, when attorney his
and expert witnesses attempting Roger Lane of Brunswick, Ga., backgrou nd
to help hundreds of railroad won a $765,000 jury award for proved to be
workers who doctors say suf- BY MARYANN LVONS, THE C.J the widow of Roy Lee Berry Jr. , a liability. 12
fered brain damage from their Louisville lawyer Edward H. a former CSX electrician from CORBIN
exposure to toxic solvents. Stopher, who has represented Hamlet, N.C. CASE: Jurors
Over a decade, the lawyers CSX in many solvent suits, said Because of challenges and ap- wanted to
battled CSX Transportation Inc. the claimsare withoutmerit. pea ls, the case took ei ht years
in Georgia, Tennes see and Ken-
cording to a CSX document of-
8
to reach a jury. Berry idn't see
it. He succumbed to pancreatic
send a
message to
tucky, winning settlements for CSX with a
roughly 300 workers diagnosed fered at a recent Florida trial. cancer in 1995.
with toxic encephalopathy. Ten CSX cases have gone to Louisville attorney Edward H. $1 .1 million
Alon~ the way, the firm won jury tri al, with six verdicts pro- Stopher, who has handled many award. 12
key rulmgs that helped lawyers ducing awards for the plaintiffs of the solvent cases for CSX, WARNING:
around the country secure ranging from $40,000 to $10 mil- said claims by workers of reek- A top railroad
scores of settlements in other lion; the $10 million award was less, unsafe use of solvents are doctor called
railroad-solvent lawsuits. later sett led on appeal for $1 exaggerated and without merit. for non-toxic
The& and the other attorneys million, according to CSX. Medical science fails to sup - cleaners in
and t eir expert medical wit- In four cases, juries gave no port that any CSX employees 1967. 12
nesses helped shed light on awards. suffered brain dama~e from sol-
vent exposure, he sai . HISTORY: A
what Wettermark calls a "dis- At least 80 solvent cases are
pending and other solvent law- Joseph Kelly, senior director timeline
graceful" period in railroad his- shows three
suits against the railroad are ex- of risk management at CSX,
torr blames the lawsuits on worker decades of
SX has acknowledged 466 pected to be filed this year .
solvent sett lements totaling up Another 54 claims against warnings,
to $35 million. The avera§e set- CSX were closed by the com- See WORKERS exposure an d
tlement was about $70,0 0, ac- pany without any compensation Page 11,col. l, this section lawsuits. 12

SUNDAY: The Peopleand the Problem YESTERDAY: The Science


TODAY: The Law TOMORR OW: Solvents: Society at Risk
11 THE COURIER-JOURNAL•TUESDAY,MAY 15, 2001

THETOXICWORKPLACE
Railroaders,
solvents
andsickness
FELA
Workersgain RAILROADWORKERSAT RISK
Accordingto doctorsandlawyers,peoplewhoworkedinrailroad
shopsinthesestateshavebeendiagnosed
withtoxicencephalopathy. Claims
paymentsafter pursued
legal battles under
Continuedfrom Page Ten from prolonged or repeated ex-
·,1908law
posures; irritation, central ner-
reaction to the company's clos- vous system depression. Avoid 'By JAMESBRUGGERS
ing of facilitiesin Louisvilleand prolonged or frequent skin J11e Courier-Journal
other corporatedownsizingthat contact.
resulted in the relocation of "Avoidbreathing vapors, Va- All of the railroad solvent
wW'!5ers ; beginning_in_I~8~. . · · pors are heavier than air and ; 1a·ws.uifa li~
ve:_been file.cl\l pde(,
-Kelly said' CSX has, settled collect in low areas, such as · the Federal ·Employers Lial:lilitr
ciss p.nly out of bott0m-line.., pits and other -confined areas. Act, a neaily centur~old ,Jaw.
concerns. Do not enter these areas where that serves as the workers'
"It's a business decision," vapors are expected unless Underthe Federal compensation system for the
Kelly said. "We have to decide special breathing apparatus is Employees Liability • Shoplocaton railroad industry.
if it's time to cut our losses." Act,railroadworkers Under the system, workers
used." whoareinjuredonthejob bringactual lawsuits inorderto winfinancial
Attorney Larry W. Lockwood The attorneys went to Cor- compensation fortheirinjur
ies.Theyareallowedto file lawsuits
anywhere may file lawsuits to recover
Jr. of Virginia Beach, Va., who bin and met with workers. theiremployerconductsbusiness.Somelawfirmsspecializein FELA damages for on-the-job injuries.
won the $10 million verdict in They explained how FELA lawsuits,so workers fromonestateoften endup hiringan attorneyfrom They may also file a claim with
1997, said the workers' injuries works, and told the railroaders another. the company and negotiate
are not only valid but have car- that if they were experiencing with their employer, with or
ried with them a high cost in symptoms of solvent exposure, Following is the resultofa Courier-Journal
surveyofmostofthe lawyers without an attorney.
human suffering. they should see their doctor whohavehandledsolvent-in ducedtoxicencephalopathy cases: FELAallows compensation if
"You have divorces. You and ask for a referral to one of BY MARY ANN LYONS, THE COURIER-JOURNAL the railroad is judged responsi-
have suicides. You have crimi- several occupational and envi- Joseph Kelly, senior director of risk management at CSX, Total:524settlements/awa
rds. or-neys;c!war Co~
___J
tt_

onaldRuzicka ble for even a "scintilla" of


nal activity,"Lockwoodsaid. ronmental medicine specialists. said the railroad has settled cases only out of bottom-line fiere: ii.ilanta negligence and workers can be
"I've heard so many stories In most cases, the workers concerns. "It's a business dec ision," he said. Tucker urgeand
Attorneys: Cases:20 settlements compensated by juries for pain
I've gotten numb to them." could pick from a list of a few James-We~ ---- Location ofworkers : Kentucky , North and suffering.
Where:Birmingham, Ala. Carolina.
physicians who had special Cases:300 settlements,one Railroads don't like the law
SOLVENTSUITS training in the effects of $1.1 million
juryaward. fAttomey: NHollanJr. and have tried to get it
Corbin man's case chemical exposure on people Location Kentucky,
of workers: 'wfiere:
'J'acl<sonvilfe, Fl_a-_-- changed.
spurs others to file
and clinical experience in diag- Tennessee,
Georgia
, North
Carolina
, Cases:45 settlement s "Workers call it the CSX lot-
nosing toxic encephalopathy, Florida,
WestVirginia. Location of workers : Kentucky. tery,'' said Joseph M. Kelly,
One of the first to file a Wettermarksaid. Alabama.
claim was a 59-year-old electri- AttQJ'.m!_y;j.,~o_ijjt,
_ _ ___ that company's senior director
One such physician was Dr. of risk management.
cian named Jasper Wages who R. Michael Kelly of Lansing, Where:Pittsburgh ttomt . C~"Biil"Tu.ck ~
worked in CSX's Corbin, Ky., Mich., an occupational and en- Cases:47 settlements Where:Birmingham , Ala. Unions say it's a good law.
facility. Location Kentuc
· of workers: ky, Cases:8 settlement s But workers can go years with-
vironmental medicine special- WestVirg
inia, Maryland
, Georgia. Location of worker s: Kentucky out receivirg any compensation
Wages filed against a subsid- ist in private practice who is
for wor =-relatedinjuries, said
iary of CSX, Seaboard Sys- also on the teaching faculty at
tems, in 1986, the year before Michigan State University
. ttomey: :t
.~art\1loG!ffio'o"q
Where:VirginiaBeach,Va.
[Attomey:!4..§1
Wfiere:Houston
Jacl<sn.__ _.
attorney Gary Easom of Jack-
several hundred Louisville MedicalSchool. Cases:39 settlements andfourjury Cases:5 settlements . sonville, Fla., one of the first at-
workers were relocated from verdicts:
$12 million,$410,000, Location of workers: Kentucky torneys to take a CSX Trans-
Kelly told The Courier-Jour- portation Inc. solvent case to
the city's old South Louisville nal that he diagnosed between , · $60,000,andonewherejurydivided
Shops to such places as Cor- 200 and 400 railroad workers negligencebutdid notgrantaward. trial.
bin, Huntington, W.Va., and with toxic encephalopathy out of workers:Maryland,
Location "There's discovery.There are
Waycross,Ga. of as many as 1,500 he saw NorthCarolina,WestVirginia. depositions, and the whole nine
"I'm just like a bulldog from several railroad compa- yards,'' he said.
when I get turned onto some- nies. Wl!l@Dl
orMY; H_O§.$~
FELAwas enacted in 1908at
Where:Missoula,Mont.
thing," said Wages, now 74, a "Initially a lot of them Cases:8 settlements a time when railroad jobs were
former local chairman of the weren't bein9. treated at all," Locationof workers:Montana, known for their dangers and
International Brotherhood of Kelly said. ' Some were told BY PAMSPAULDING,THE COURIER-JOURNAL Iowa. more than a million people
ElectricalWorkers. they were just depressed." "I think to this day, CSX and their lawyers believe every worked in the industry.
_uomey: GaiYJ:ruiQID
,_ _ _
Wages said he agreed in 'Some workers diagnosed one of these cases was bogus," worker attorney James H. Where:Jacksonville,Fla.
The law defines negligence
1987to a $450,000 settlement, with toxic encephalopathy de- Wettermark said." . .. They think somehow we concocted as the railroad's failure to exer-
which after attorney fees and cided not to file lawsuits, doc- this whole thing, which is preposterous." Cases:25 settlements
, oneverdict cise "reasonable care" in its
expenses yielded about tors and some workers told the with$32,000 award. obligationto the employee.
Location ofworkers:Kentucky,
$260,000. newspaper. Some decided it Initially, it looked promising World Health Organizationsol- Georgia. By contrast, typical workers'
As word spread, lawyers wasn't worth the emotional for CSX. The company won a vent conference in Denmark compensation does not require
who specializedin Federal Em- stress. victory in Florida's Duval and another who was president an injured worker to pin any
ployers LiabilityAct claims be- County Circuit Court, in the of the Association of Occupa- negligence on his or her com-
gan hearing from workers and CSXFIGHTSBACK Roy Lee Berry Jr. case when tional and Environmental Clin- ln case after case, CSX one into a coma from oxygen pany. But such claims can nev-
taking on cases. Judge Michael Weatherby ics and was on the editorial would present each worker's deprivation." er recover losses for pain and
"There was almost this ca- Railroad fails in attempts ruled to exch.ide Berry's doc- board of the journal Industrial history of alcohol use, if' any. suffering. Payment of workers'
tharsis effect," Wettermark re- to get ca ses dismissed tors. Meaicine. Doctors say heavy drinking CLAfMS CONTINUE comp claims is based on a pre-
called. "These guys who had The first big challenge to·th'e Berty appealed the tlecision Shipley, in her ruling, noted over many years can cause Some workers say determined schedule of bene-
Norked there for 25 to 30 Burge and Wettermark cases and it was overturned in 1998 that the three CSX experts had many of the same symptoms
as toxic encephalopathy. payouts were too low fits.
vear~ would hear from some- was a CSX attempt to have by the First District Court of either "not written on these FEI.Arequires that the courts
one who was having the same them thrown out because of a Appealin Florida. types of cases or testified on The company also tested Solvent-exposure injury
each plaintiff's intelligence Jev- claims continue to be filed, consider what's called a com-
problems as they were, and three-year statute of limita- CSX "really put a lot into the subject prior to this specif- parative negligencestandard.
they would break down in tions. this case," said Lane, Berry's ic litigation," had not "read el and compared it to workers' fried or settled 15 years after
schoolrecords. CSX said it stopped using "The jury will hear how neg-
tears because (there was a ba- Too many years had passed attorney. "It was kind of a test anything in this field before" ligent the defendant railroad
sis for) these symptoms they between when the workers had case on the science." or had "no prior experience." "We are trying to determine chlorinatedsolventsin bulk.
in these cases whether there is The attorneys working the has been, and they will also
were having." first noticed symptoms such as A jury finally heard the Ber- Buoyed by the win, Burge weigh how negligent the plain-
Because of legislation adopt- being dizzy at work and the ry case last November, award- and Wettermark prepared for any impairment or reduction in cases say they are difficult,
ed in 1908, railroad employees time they filed claims in 1990, ing $765,000 to his widow. the trial, in suburban Atlanta, an individual's cognitive abili- time consumingand C?stly. tiff may have been, and com-
seeking compensation for job- the company argued in a Geor- CSXhas appealed. ties," Stopher said, explaining "They were expensive to put pare the negligence of one ver-
of the claim brought by Corbin sus the other,'' Easom said.
related injuries must file a law- gia trial court in the early Some. 2,000 miles away in pipefitter Terrelf Monhollen. the strategy. on,'' said Birmingham attorney
suit if they can't successfully 1990s. Montana, a lower court earlier CSX had offered Monhollen Attorney Alva A. Hollon Jr. W.C. "Bill" Tucker, who se- In the first CSX solvent trial
negotiate a claim directly with of Florida, who has won settle-. cured settlements for eight in 1994, for example, a Jack-
The court ruled in favor of had tossed out six of 27 solvent separate settlementsof $10,000 sonville, Fla., jury found that
their company. It's their ver- the workers, a decision that cases involving Burlin~on an9 $25,000, both of which he ments for about 40 solvent-ex- workers. "But 1 think every-
sion of workers' compensation. was later upheld by an appeals Northern locomotive mamte- had turned down. posed workers from shops in body, all of us thflt were doing Louisville resident Danny Gou-
While this law lets workers sue court in 1993 and the Georgia nance workers on similar is- In a trial notable for its de- Mobile, Corbin and Louisville, them, believed that something sha had suffered solvent-in-
for pain and suffering, they Supreme Court in 1994. CSX sues. A 1994appeal to the U.S. pictions of the poor working said the workers' medical his- wrong had been done to these duced brain damage while
must prove employer negh- appealed to the U.S. Supreme Ninth Circuit Court of Ap~eals conditions of the CSX mainte- tories made trying cases diffi- poor guys. working at the South Louisville
gence. cult. . "The railroad felt like they Shops and in Corbin, Ky. But it
Court, which refused to take also went ih the company s fa. nance shops, the jury found determined that Gousha was 80
Nearly all the litigation was up the matter. vor. for Monhollen. It set damages "Diabetes, high blood pres- paid too much," Tucker said.
aimed at CSX, though other The attorneys then settled Missoula, Mont., attorney at $1.6million but decided that sure - if you have a client "And the people felt like they percent responsible for his
railroads were also targeted; their first several cases, Wet- William Rossbach took over, Monhollen was 30 percent re- with a number of confounding got too little." medical problems, assigning
those included Norfolk South- termark said, for $500,000 to prepared new cases, and se- sponsible, making his final factors - that will affect the Perhaps that means every- CSXthe other 20 percent.
ern and Burlington Northern, 600 000 cured settlements for eight of award $1.1 million. value of the case. You get peo- thing came out as it should, he A $200,000 award was re-
which later merged with Santa $ , per case. the remaining 21 Montana rail- CSX appealed to the Georgia pie in their 40s and 50s - no- added. duced to $40,000 - or 20 per-
Fe. At the same time, some of roaders, despite the earlier de- Appeals Court and lo.st. body has perfect health - so Some workers say they are cent of the total, Easom said.
Burge and Wettermark ~ot the leading occupational and feat on the science issue. "Monhollen has presented they are going to have these . satisfied with the outcomes Gousha declined to be inter-
involvedin 1989after receiving environmental medical doctors But perhaps the biggest evidence both that CSX's neg- confoundingfactors." · · viewed, saying only that the
calls from three Corbin work- in the country, along wit]:la showdown-in the scientific de- ligence played a part in pro- Other lawyers said it also is and some say they should have lawsuit "left a bad taste in my
ers who believed they were few neurologists, were diag- bate over whether solvent ex- ducing his injury, and that the a problem when juries see receivedmore money. mouth."
made sick by the chemical sol- nosing railroad workers with posure could cause brain dam- possibility of injury was fore- plaintiffs who don't look in- Steven Bemis, 55, of Louis-
vents. brain damage from an ever- age came in Nashville, Tenn., seeable to CSX,'' the appeals Jured. ville, bounced between several
The two lawyers said work- widening circle. Patients were in 1995. court determined. "By and large . . . if you lawyers before joining the
ers told them how the solvents being referred from Waycross, With 82 workers' lawsuits at In 1997, the Tennessee Su- were to sit in a room and talk Burge and Wettermark cases,
had been used like water for Ga.; Huntington, W.Va.; Cum- stake, Davidson County Circuit pren:ieCourt ruled on the CSX with these guys, you'd say he and wasn't happy with his con-
many years, how they and oth- berland, Md.; Mobile, Ala.; Court Judge Marietta M. Ship- appeal of Shipley's Daubert may be a bit quiet, but he fidential settlement. According GLOSSARY
ers m Louisville and Corbin Nashville,Tenn.; West Burling- ley ordered a so-called "Dau- decision. That also went seems pretty normal;" said to a CSX court document, Be-
sometimes had been overcome ton, Iowa; and Livingston, bert" hearing. againstthe company. Florida attorney Gary Easom, mis received a settlement of OF TERMS
by fumes while using the in- Mont. In "Daubert" proceedings, Again, to no avail, CSX who has negotiated 25 settle- $200,000. CHLORINATED SOLVENTS:
dustrial degreasers in pits un- Burlington Northern Santa judges hear evidence regarding called on the U.S. Supreme ments for solvent-exposedrail- Bemis said his settlement Powerfuldegreasers manufac-
derneath locomotives and in Fe spokesman Gus Melonas scientific knowledge, theory Court to intervene. road workers. was large enough to pay off tured by combiningchlorine
other close quarters. acknowledged his company and methodplogy in determin- So as the 1990s moved to- "Of course, the jury doesn't their mortgage and some bills compounds withhydrocarbon
Workers also said no one settled more than a half-dozen ing whether expert witnesses ward an end, CSX sat down at know him back when he .was but. not large enough to pre-
ever told them they must use solvent lawsuits but said the can come before a jury. talkat ive and was able to solvents to makethem less flam-
the negotiating table with troubleshoot the electrfcal sys- vent his wife, Carolyn, from mable and more efficient.
respirators when applying sol- company doesn't believe it . If the complicated science is Burge arid Wettermark. And
vents - at least not until late ever exposed the plaintiffs to allowed to go before a jury, they began to settle the firm's tern of a locomotive without a having to find a job.
1980sor early 1990s. hazardous levels of solvent cases can be especially difficult cases, one by one. blueprint." · Wettermark called the settle- TOXIC ENCEPHALOPATHY:
"What we found when we fumes. for attorneys, said Huntington Ineverycase, the.companyhas Both sides have tried to use ment phase especially difficult. Aform of brain damage charac-
started investigating the cases Melonas noted that his com- attorney James Turner, who denied responsibility for the material safety data sheets to "Among our cases, we had terized by short-term memory
was they had been using huge pany succeeded in having six has handled several solvent problems claimedby workers. their advantage. some really splendid cases that loss, depression, anxiety,loss of
amounts of trichloroethylene other cases thrown out of cases on behalf of CSX. To the plaintiffs, the docu- were entitled to substantial set- balance, diminishedmental
(TCE), l ,l,l-trichloroethane court. Juries made up of "average "If you look at the (466) ments showed dangers of the tlements," Wettermark said. functionand sometimes nerve
(TCA), and perchloroethylene A Norfolk Southern spokes- folks" wind up being asked to cases we've settled, with the solvents. "And we got them substantial damage inthe arms and legs.
(PCE)," Wettermarkrecalled. woman, Susan Bland, declined decide controversial medical some 20,000 workers we had CSX's Stopher said the doc- settlements. We had some
Also being used at the shops to say if her employer had had questions before the science is in the shops over the years," uments only sound ominous cases that were entitled to lit-
FELA: The Federal Employers
was sometning called Dow- any claimsfiled against it. prepared to do so itself, he Kelly said, "there were a few because chemical makers are tie, if anything. So trying to
Clene, or L&N No. 3. lt was Bland said Norfolk Southern said. that had symptoms. trying to guard against the po- handle the people side was LiabilityAct,whichis the rail-
three-fourths TCA and one- does not believe any of its em- Both sides hired the best ex- "We found other reasons for tential of lawsuits. very difficult." roaders' versionof workers'
fourth PCE. ployees "now or in the past" perts they could find. After some of their medical prob- He gave an example from a Bemis and some others wish compensation. Railroad workers
The lawyers obtained mate- have been exposed to injurious four days of testimony and lems. We don't accept these portion of the safety data they could have persuaded are allowedto fileclaimswith
rial safety da a tsheets for the levels of toxic fumes on com- cross-examination, Shipley people were injured from ex- sheets for Flintstones vitamins: their attorneys to take their their employeror lawsuitsto
solvents. Chemical manufac- pany property. ruled against CSX. posure to the chemicals." "Clinical findings include mild cases to trial. recoverdamages for on-the-job
turers prepare these papers to "It's clear that there are Wettermark said simply: "I lethargy, stupor, shock and Jesse Haven of London re- injuries.
offer instructions on how to 'JUNKSCIENCE' studies that support the causa- really feel vindicated." coma. Can cause the following ceived a settlement of
use the products safely. Re- CSX tries to discredit tive factor and studies that do side effects: Blurred vision, $470,000, according to a CSX DAUBERT HEARING: A 1egal
quired since the 1970s, employ- not," Shipleysaid. SOMEGOTO TRIAL dizziness, headache, unusual summary of solvent cases from
ers have had to make them diagnoses - and loses However, she cited the fact tiredness and weakness, pain a recent trial in Florida, before proceeding in whicha Judge
available to workers since For the railroaders, the most that the solvents themselves CSX digs up medical, in ankles and feet, pain in he died last year after falling hears evidence regarding scien-
1985. siinifi cant legal hurdle was have acute effects in high personal histories bones and muscular pain may into a dementia that his neu- tificknowledge, theory and
"As soon as we saw how the still ahead. doses; that a link between the In the cases in which no set- occur." rologist blamed on ~hemicals. methodologyin determining
'tlanufacturers were recom- Using a "junk science" de- chemicals and brain damage tlement could be reached, the What is not listed in the His wife, Sharon, said the set- whetherexpertwitnesses can be
nending (the solvents) be used fense, CSX began an effort in was the focus of several inter- CSX courtroom strategy was to safety data sheets of the sol- tlement wasn't enough. allowedto testifybefore a jury.
and saw how the railroad were the mid-1990s to have judges national conferences; and that use both its "junk science" de- vents in question is important, "I would rather had it go to
using them, it was pretty much declare the science behind the "medical textbooks also pre- fense and the FELAprovision Stopher said. trial and have a jury hear it, RESPIRATORY
apparent to us that there was toxic encephalopathy diag- sent the causative factor as a that allows juries to assign a "There is no warning of any and even if we didn't get a PROTECTION PROGRAMS :
significant abuse of this stuff," noses invalid. If successful, it truism." percentage of responsibility in toxic encephalopathy, or brain thing, have everyone see and Occupational Safetyand Health
Wettermarksaid. would prevent workers' doc- The workers' four doctors, a verdict. damage, or permanent central hear what was done to him, Administrationrequirementsthat
For example, the 1980safety tors from testifying. she observed, all had extensive The latter often meant a nervous system damage, ex- and maybe that would help
data sheets for DowClenecon- At stake was the railroad experience in the field, includ- close scrutiny of each plain- cept in the instance of where other cases," she said. governwhen and under what
tained this warning: workers' ability to take their ing one who had represented tiff's medical condition and there was an overexposure on "I just wanted the world to conditions workersare to be
"Possible organic injury claims to trial. the United States at a 1985 personal history an acute basis that puts some- know what had happened." given respirators.
THE COURIER-JOURNAL• TUESDAY,MAY 15, 2001 12

THETOXICWORKP
LACE
Railroaders
, solventsand sickness
LOUISVILLE CASE CORBIN CLAIM

Workerhistories Jurorsto CSX:


proveliability Youhaveproblem
By JAMES BRUGGERS Avoid breath ing vapors ... Va-

duringtrials The Cour ier-J ournal pors (are) heavier than air and
will collect in low places such
It was one of the earliest as pits, degreasers, storage
railroad solvent cases to go to tanks, and other confin ed
tr ial. A lot was on the line. areas. Do not enter these areas
By JAMES BRUGGERS paid a total of up to $35 million
The Courier- Journal After nine days of trial, the . . . unless special breathing
in solvent settl ements and jury
suburban Atlanta jury in Gwin- apparatus is used and an ob-
verdicts, denies that any of its cur-
For mer railroader Gary M. nett County handed a $I.I mil- server is present for assis---
rent or fo rmer employees suffer
lion award to Terrell Monhol- tance." ,.;
Stone Sr. paces the small living fro m solvent-induced brain dam-
room of his south Louisv ill e len, a railroad worker from While the CSX safety man-
age.
home. Corbin , Ky ., who had been di- ual gave supervisors the re- -
The company has spent more
He rubs his chin and taps his agnosed with toxic encephalo - 5ponsibility of deciding wheth -
tha n $16 million defendi ng it- 'r .someone should use a respi -
head, imitating how Edward H . pathy, a type of brain dama~e.
self against hundreds of solvent ·1tor, Hedrick said that as a
Stopher, the lawyer fo r CSX And in the process, the Jury
claims, accord i ng its insurance
dealt a sharp blow to his for- ~upervisor and foreman he had
Transportatio n I nc., questioned companies.
mer employer , CSX Transpor - not required anyone to wear a
witnesses and addressed the Some workers may be sick,
tation Inc . respirator before 1985.
Jefferson Circuit Court jury Stopher said, but their medical
Recalling t he trial, foreman Hedrick told the ju ry that
that in 1998 rejected Stone's at- problems can be explained in Russell Artz said he and his the Corbin shop didn 't institute
tempt to win compensat ion for other ways, such as depression fellow jurors were appalled by a respiratory protection pro-
what had been diagnosed as or high blood pressure. working conditions at the CSX gram until 1991. OSHA first re-
solvent-induced brain damage. Looking at Stone's grades
Corbin maintenance shops. qu ired respiratory protection
Stone remembers every and IQ test result was not un- They wanted to send the com- programs in 1971, though
Stopher mannerism, not just usual, Stopher said. CSX rou- agencies responsible for en-
pany a message,he said.
because he lost, but because of t inely checks for early aca- "The j ury wanted to tell the forcing OSHA regulations
how Stopher won. demic perfor mance and com- railroad , 'Hey , you have a didn 't secure jurisdiction in the
How the attorney cite d pares it to pretrial tests pla in- problem,'" Artz told The Cou- railroad shops for roughly a
Stone's lower-than-average IQ tif f s must take. rier-Journal. "You are try ing to decade.
and poor academic perform- "It wou ld be ideal if befo re hide all this crap. Just recog- Monhollen's attorney, James
ance as far back as t he fi rst these indiv iduals went to work nize it and deal H. Wettermark of
grade. How Stopher document- for the rai lroad that they had w ith it." Birmingham, Ala.,
ed Stone's past alcoho l and had a battery of tests that we A CSX lawyer
"They said CSX and its
marij uana use. could compare to their abilit ies
The case illustrates how CSX today," Stopher said.
downplayed the
importance of
ignored the corporate prede-
cessors did not
defends itself agai nst claims by "That does not exist. So the
solvent-exposed wor kers, and next best thing is to look at
the verdict and
the appell ate
clear and monitor the air or
provide respirato -
the chall enges those wo rkers their inte ll ectual performance,
face convi nci ng juries that the as it was purportedly obj ective-
court decision to unambiguous ry protection.
uphold it. "They ignored the
chemical s were to blame for
their medical proble ms.
ly measured by third parties,
their teachers and in some in -
"For what ever warning clear and unam-
reason, the sci- biguous warning
Stone, 45, was granted a
medical disability by the Rail -
stances their professors, in col- entific issues signs that signs that some-
leges and the like. " weren 't really thing was terribly
road Retirement Board in 1997 Wit h Stone, CSX compared a presented in that something wrong in this shop,
after several doctors concl uded grade school IQ test to one he trial," said Ed- people getting
he was suffe r ing from head- was give n before trial. The re- ward H. Stopher
was terribly dizzy and drunk."
aches, dizzy spells and poor sults were essentially the same.
cognitive function "to the poin t Stopher also subpoenaed
BY PAM SPAULDING, THE COURIER-JOURNAL
Gary M. Stone Sr. demonstrated how he washed his hands in solvents. At trial, a CSX lawyer
of Louisville,
who assisted an-
wrong in Railroad
lawyers insisted
of dementia," accord ing to Stone's medical records from a
court records. monthlong voluntary stay in
cited Stone's lower-than-average IQ as evidence that he hadn't suffered brain damage. other attorn ey, th is shop, the case was pri-
Jack H. Sentor- marily about
In 1990, t hree years after a 1986 at a Lou isvi lle alcohol re- hadn' t suffered brain damage, cause for this problem was the showed Stone's solvent expo- fitt, in defend ing people whether
heavy locomotive part crushed habil itat ion center. Stopher told the ju ry. organ ic solvent exposure asso- sure hampered his abi l ity to Monhollen had suf-
CSX and wtnt
his ankle, Stone received a
$150,000 settle ment from the
Records of Stone's intake in -
terview, offe red during the tri-
Instead, his short-te rm mem- ciated with his work at the rai l- learn. on after the I 995 getting dizzy fered brain dam-
ory loss, dizz iness, fatigue and road," Lin z said in a 1998 depo- In depositions, family mem- tri al to becorne age. He did not,
rail road. He was off for two al, characterized him as some- inability to concent rate could sition. bers and a close friend told the company's and drunk." they said.
years becauseof the injury. one wit h a "severe" drin k ing be explained as nor mal aging, IQ tests are not always a Stopher that Stone had not lead outside coun- "Mr. Monhollen's
When Stone filed his solvent prob lem in the 1980s. They also the attorney said. good measure of whether sol- complai ned to them at the time sel. - James H. intellectual ability
lawsuit in 1995, CSX responded indicated Stone regu larly "I'm 13 years older than he vents have damaged someone's Someattorncys
aggressively, one of hi s attor - smoked marij uana. about working conditions in the Wettermark, today is no different
is. All I can say is, 'Welcome to brain, Linz also told The Couri-
Louisville shops, nor that he believe t1
1e attorney for Terrell than what it was
neys said. Stone told The Courier-Jour- middle age,'" Stopher said. er-Journal. court victory, before he went to
"I can tell you, CSX, they are nal he exaggerated his sub- Dr. Douglas H . Linz, a Cin- Between 1993 and 1997 Stone was affected by the solvents. while not preced- Monhollen work for the rail-
hardball players," said Sanford stance use to make sure he was cinna ti occupat ional and envi- was unable to hold down any "Wouldn't you expect that ent-setting, road," Senterfitt
Berman, a Louisv i lle lawyer accepted in to the program. He ronmental medicine specialist, of 15 jobs, such as janitor or Mr . Stone wo uld complain to helped lead to set- told the jury.
who helped represent Stone said he stopped drinking and who diagnosed Stone, said handyman, Stone's lead attor- his fami ly and to his good tlements in other solvent cases. He cited result s from IQ
and who helped several other last smoked mar ijuana more Stone's past alcohol consump- ney, Thomas J. Joyce III of friend?" Stopher asked the In the trial, one of CSX's tests taken before and after
railroade rs win solvent settle- than 12years ago. tion or blood pressure were not Philadephia, told the jury in his jury . own key witnesses could not Monhollen worked for the rail-
ments. Stone, wh o qu it his rail road the frimary cause of his illness. closing arguments. Stone's lawyers did not ap- refute that workers cleaning road, which showed virtually
T he company, w hi ch has j ob in 1990, after 17 years, " fe lt the overw helmin g Attorney Berman said t his peal the verdict. locomotiv es were using sol- no change.
vents contrary to manufactur - And if Monhollen had suf-
MEDICAL WARNING ers' recommendations and in fered brain damage, it was his
apparent viol ation of both Oc- own fault, Senterfitt argued.

Railroaddoctorcalledfor non-toxiccleanersin '67memo cupationa l Safety and Health "Mr. Mon hollen testified
Administration regulations and that every time he used this
the company's own safety (solvent) he got dizzy .. . and
manual. yet he would continually wash
By JAMES BRUGGERS nized decades ago that chlori- an assistant vice president en- Thomas J. Hedrick, who his hands in it. What's wrong
The Courier-Journa l nated solvents were dangerous, deavored to correct "a serious PERS
ONAL PROTEC
TIVE worked in Corbin from 1966 to with that picture?"
that vent il ation in shops was sit uat ion concerning the use of 1993, eventually serving as Jury members believed that
lOlllSVIU.E
&
EQUIPM
ENT
A top rail road doctor warned sometimes inadequ ate and that
more than three decades ago proper respiratory protection
that some chlorinated hydrocar- was requi red . Th e B&O Rail-
electrica l parts cleaner L&N
No.3 ."
The memo instructs shop su-
--
• m'IIUEalllROU1:9
,

1..-- ***
general foreman, told the jury Monhollen did suffer brain
that no worl (ers ever com- damage, and that Corbin shop
plained to hin1 about solvent managers had not enforced
bon solvents were putting road later became part of CSX
workers at r isk of injury and Tra nsportation Inc ., which de-
perintendents to make sure that
SAFET
Y
RUUS r---..
Whenworkinvolving fumes , fumes, and thtit he didn't be- safety ru les, jury foreman Artz
the cleaner only is used on lieve they were harmfuL . said . They set damages at $1.6
tnat lawsuits were possible. cli ned to comment on the docu- electr ical equipment and that
e dustorsandisdone,theneed But on cro1> s-exammat10n, million but attributed 30 per-
Baltimore & Ohio Rai lroad ments. wo r kers who are applying it
nedical di rector Dr. I. Kapla n Others include : use respirators with an external _i....,,.,m willbe
fora respirator he acknowledged that he had cent of the negligence to Mon-
become dizzy while using the hollen, ~iving him an award of
n 1967 distr ibuted a memo to
company officials identifying
• A 1957 Chesapeake & Ohio
air supply.
In the Louisville and Corbin, -- determinedbythesupervisor cleaners as a machinist and $1.1million.
that others did, too. CSX appealed. In 1997, the
Rail road internal memo order-
trichloroethylene as toxic and
saying " lube rooms" had inda- ing the use of a new solvent,
Ky., shops, there's evidence
that electr icia ns, pipefitters,
incharge. Pg.12
Hedr ick said he was aware Court of Appeals of Georgia
that some workers needed upheld the verdict. The com-
dequate ventilation. 1,1,1-tri chl oroethane (fCA), mechanics and laborers who BY PAM SPAULDING
. THE COURIER-J
OURNAL ''fresh -air breaks" after being pany knew the chemicals were
The doctor recommended the over trichloroethy lene (fCE), cleaned and repaired locomo- Despite this rule , some railroad supervisors said they would around the fumes. toxic to the centra l nervous
railroad find a non-toxic alter - because T CA was considered tives thro ugh at least the mid- let workers decid e whether to use a respirator. This photo is It was comm on practice for system, the court's 12-page
native for some degreasing op- less toxic. The same memo rec- 1980s were rare ly required to of an exhibit in the Terrell Monhollen trial. workers to wash their hands, opinion said.
erations. ommended that employees who use th is ki nd of respirator. gloves and clothes in solvents. "Monhollen presented evi-
"Even though it mig ht be a apply solvents use full -face res- In a 1996 deposition, Charles work i nvolving fumes, dust or lawsuit that respirators were He had done those things him - dence that CSX's negligent act
little more expensive, it may ul- pirato rs with an external supply Ray, a departmental foreman at sand is done, the need for a available to workers who want- self, Hedrick said. consisted of mainta ining work -
timately save the company of air - something tha t work- the Louisv ill e shops from 1978 respirator will be determined ed them but their usage was But the manufacturer's ma- ing conditions which continu -
thousands of dolla rs in law- ers and the ir lawyers say rarely to 1983, said he did not correct by the supervisor in charge." not enforced. terial safety data sheet in 1978 ously exposed him to danger-
suits," Kaplan wrote. happened at railroad shops workers who he saw using the Former Corbin general fore - Hedrick said he didn't think for a commonly used solvent, ous chemicals without ade-
The memo is among several th roughout the Southeast. wrong type of respirator . man Thomas Hedrick testified respirators were needed until DowClene, said: quate safeguards for his health
internal documents that show • A 1978 Louisville & Nash- • A 1978 safety manual from for CSX in the 1995trial of pipe- 1985, when he learned solvents "Avoid prol onged or fre- and safety," the ruling also
some in the ind ustry recog- ville Rai lroad memo in which L&N pointing out that "when fitter Terr ell Monhollen's were potentially harmful. quently repeated sk in contact. said.

Three decades of solvent warnings, worker exposure and lawsuits


1967: B&O medical director to $40,000. potentially devastating blow to dated McDaniel case. Burlington Northern workers
Dr. I. Kaplan warns in an inter- the case and is widely circulat- who were part of the original
nal memo that trichloroethylene
1994: Georgia Supreme 1997 : In a solvent-exposure
Court upholds lower court rul- ed throughout the country by trial in Gwinnett County, Ga., a 1992 lawsuit.
(TCE) is being used too broad- defense attorneys.
ings that allow two CSX work- jury decides against awarding 1999 : In the Cumberland,
ly and in rooms without ade-
ers to proceed with their brain- 1995: Davidson County any money to Bryant R. Sherrill, Md., solvent case of Gary
quate ventilation. He encour-
damage lawsuits, even thoug h Circuit Court Judge Marietta a railroader who worked in Blacker vs. CSX, the jury deter-
ages the company to find a
the men first noticed symptoms Shipley consolidates 82 Burge CSX's Hamlet, N.C., shops. mines that each party was
" non-toxic" alternative for
prior to a three-year statute of and Wettermark solvent cases equally at fault and declines to
deg reasing small parts, and 1998 : Harold Twigg, repre-
limitations. from Nashville, Tenn., under a make an award.
predicts potential lawsuits. sented by Larry Lockwood,
1994 : The Ninth Circuit suit by Kenneth McDaniel in
1986 : Jasper Wages of wins a $405,000 jury award in 1999 : Cumberland worker
Court of Appeals in San order to hold a "Daubert" hear-
Corbin, Ky., files a lawsuit Cumberland, Md. Twigg settles Gary Mongold, represented by
Francisco upholds the decision ing. This follows an attempt by
against for $150,000 upon appeal, Larry Lockwood, wins a
by lower federal court in CSX to prevent the workers'
Seaboard 1987: An empty locomotiveshop in south Louisville. according to CSX. $65,000 verdict against CSX in
Montana that threw out the first doctors from testifying because
Systems, a their "j unk science" lacks cred- 199 8 : The U.S. Supreme the Circuit Court of Monongalia
six Burlington Northern solvent
CSX sub- tions. Workers and families are against CSX. ibility. Shipley determines the Court refuses to overturn the County, W.Va.
cases. The court ruled that affi-
sidiary at the moved to Corbin; Huntington, 1992 : Roy Lee Berry Jr. of workers' doctors have sufficient Tennessee Supreme Court in
davits from workers' doctors 2000: The estate of Berry
time, blaming W.Va.; Waycross, Ga.; and Hamlet, N.C., files a solvent credibility to testify, saying, the consolidated McDaniel
failed to support claims that wins $765,000 in jury trial.
his diag- Hamlet, N.C. lawsuit against CSX. 'This is not junk science." case.
solvents used in the Livingston 20 01 : CSX acknowledges
nosed brain 1989 -1992: Attorneys 1992 : Twenty-seven shops made them sick. A new 1997: The Florida Appeals 1998 : The District Court of that it has settled 466 toxic
damage on Tucker Burge and James Burlington Northern workers file attorney, William Rossbach Court overturns the lower court Appeal in Florida overturns the encephalopathy lawsuits, pay-
Wages the solvents Wettermark, along with lawyers lower court ruling that had pre-
suit in U.S. District Court in from Missoula, Mont., takes on ruling that had denied Berry the ing a total of up to $35 million
he was from other states, investigate Billings, Mont., alleging they 10 of the original clients and opportunity to have his doctors vented Berry's doctors from to current or former workers.
expected to use in his work as railroad workers' claims of suffered a variety of ailments prepares new lawsuits. testify about his condition. testifying in his trial. Some 80 cases are pending.
an electrician. heavy solvent exposure in sev- from their exposure to solvents 1995: Berry dies of panc;re- 199 7: William Crouch, rep- 1998 : Gary Stone, repre- Attorneys who represented
1986: CSX says it stops eral southeastern states and at the BN shop in Livingston, atic cancer at age 53. resented by attorney Larry sented by Thomas Joyce and workers estimate the number of
bulk use of chlorinated solvents begin to prepare dozens of law- Mont.
1995: Monhollen, represent- Lockwood, wins a $1O million Sanford Berman, loses his sol- CSX settlements at 485 and
in shops but still uses spray suits.
1992·1995: CSX phases ed by Burge and Wettermark, award at a trial in Portsmouth, vent trial in Jefferson County agree more are still in litigation
cans. 1992: Danny Gousha files a out all chlorinated solvents wins $1.1 million from CSX Va. After an appeal by CSX, the Circuit Court. or will be filed.
1987: Wages settles his lawsuit against CSX, alleging from its locomotive mainte· Hamlet, N.C., man settles for
lawsuit for $450,000. His share, that the degreasing solvents he
from a suburban Atlanta jury. 1998- 1999 : Burge and 200 1: A trial is held in Duval
nance and repair shops, sys- $1 million, according to CSX. Wettermark settle 81 of 82
after expenses and attorney used in the Louisville and 1995 : Duval County (Fla.) County (Fla.) Circuit Court to
temwide. 1997 : The Court of Appeals cases that were covered under
fees, is roughly $260,000. Corbin railroad shops were Circuit Judge Michael decide if CSX can recoup from
responsible for his brain dam- 1994: Gousha case goes to Weatherby, following a of Georgia refuses to overturn the McDaniel Tennessee its insurance companies any of
198 7: Hundreds of jobs are trial. The jury grants him a Monhollen's jury award. Supreme Court ruling.
lost at CSX's South Louisville age. "Daubert"-style hearing, grants the millions it spent defending
$200,000 award, but places 80 a CSX motion to prevent 1997 : The Tennessee 1998-1999: Montana attor- itself against solvent lawsuits
Shops when the company clos- 1992: Terrell Monhollen of percent responsibility on Berry's docto rs from testifying Supreme Court upholds ney William Rossbach secures and paying settlements to
es many of the facility's opera- Corbin f iles a solvent lawsuit Gousha. His award is reduced in his trial. The ruling deals a Shipley's ruling in the consoli- settlements for eight of 1O workers.