LOS LUNAS, N.M. – Feb. 15, 2012 – Last week, the estate of a former New Mexico railroad employee sued BNSF Railway alleging wrongful death, due to asbestos exposure, of locomotive repair shop worker Santiago Riley.  During 13 years of employment from 1942-1955 at railroad facilities in New Mexico and Arizona, Riley made locomotive repairs, performed various shop duties and swept floors around dusty asbestos-containing substances without any respiratory protection.

This exposure caused permanent injury and contributed to his eventual death, according to the lawsuit filed by his children. The estate seeks damages for mental and physical suffering, lost wages, medical bills and other financial losses.

BNSF Railway was created in 1995 from the merger of Burlington Northern Inc. (parent company of Burlington Northern Railroad) and Santa Fe Pacific Corporation (parent company of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway).  In 2010, BNSF became a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A).

According to the Riley family’s attorney, John D. Roven, many railroad employees were required to work with toxic materials like asbestos without warnings, and asbestos was widely used on locomotives as insulation during the time of Riley’s employment.

“The medical and safety departments at the former AT&SF Railway knew or should have known about the hazardous conditions to which they were subjecting Riley and many others,” said Roven.  “Today, we are asking a jury to hold the Railroad accountable for those choices.”

According to the National Institute of Health, asbestosis, the lung disease from which Riley suffered, occurs from breathing asbestos fibers.  Severity of illness depends on how long the person was exposed and the amount inhaled.  Often, people do not notice shortness of breath for 25 years or more after exposure, and malignant mesothelioma can develop many decades after exposure ends.

The estate of Santiago Riley is represented in Los Lunas, N.M. by the Law Offices of Michael Sanchez and by Roven-Kaplan, LLP in Houston.  For further information about this or other railroad injury cases, call 1-800-997-1505 or visit www.rovenlaw.com.  A copy of the Riley lawsuit is available for download here.  Source: www.lawsuitpressrelease.com.


Contact:  John P. David or Alexis Gray