Cadet couple files suit against 3M, others over husband's silicosis diagnosis

By Charmaine Little | Sep 14, 2018

ST. LOUIS – On Sept. 10, a Cadet couple sued a handful of respiratory and distribution companies in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri for the Eastern Division after a man was diagnosed with silicosis.

Michael and Stephanie Harper sued 3M Co., also known as Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co.; The Black & Decker Corp; Black & Decker (U.S.) Inc.; Cameron International Corp., et al. alleging negligence and other counts.

They allege each defendant contributed to Michael Harper's 2014 diagnosis with the silica-related sickness.

The suit states Michael Harper was a sandblaster and painter for Union Pacific Railroad Co. from 1972 to 1979 and a construction worker for St. Louis Bridge Construction Co. from 1990 to 2001. 

“[He] was wrongfully exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed silica fibers, dust and/or particles, an inherently toxic substance,” the lawsuit states.

The Harpers allege the defendants created, distributed, sold, supplied, and/or made available silica or products that had silica in them.

While they sued Union Pacific Railroad Co., individually as successor-in-interest to Missouri Pacific Railroad, the Harpers called out the company in their first cause of action over allegations it failed to provide a safe place to work and failed to provide him with adequate protective masks. They alleged during that time, Harper worked with and/or near several items that contained silica, including cement, compressors, saws and power tools.

They also named Union Pacific Railroad Co. in their second and third cause of action for allegedly violating the Locomotive Boiler Inspection Act and the Safe Appliance Act, respectively. They allege Union Pacific failed to provide sandblasting tools in a proper condition.

They named all supplier and manufacturer defendants over allegations of negligence, product liability – inadequate design or formulation, breach of implied warranty, willful and wanton conduct, failure to warn for their fourth through eighth causes of action respectively. They asked for the case to be heard in front of a jury.

They also allege Stephanie Harper has suffered losses such as companionship, fellowship, society and other valuable services. 

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