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Case Conclusion Date: 12.01.2011
Practice Area: Personal injury
Description: In July of 2007, two employees of a contractor were working at a lead battery plant in Richmond, Kentucky when they were exposed to large doses of toxic lead particulate which is used in the battery manufacturing process. In the 1970’s the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (“NIOSH”) estimated that more that one million workers were occupationally exposed to lead and the some of the highest exposures come from lead battery operations. It has long been known that over-exposure to lead can result in accumulation in the body resulting in high blood lead levels. This hazardous condition, diagnosed by blood testing, may cause permanent damage to an individual’s nervous, renal, reproductive and cardiovascular systems and may even cause death. Individuals with lead poisoning may see symptoms such as loss of appetite, a metallic taste in their mouth, constipation, anemia, malaise, weakness, insomnia, headaches, nervous irritability and muscle and joint pains. Both of Mr. Thomas’ clients claimed in their suit that they suffered severe adverse health affects as a result of this exposure which left them permanently disabled and unable to work. They also claimed that their exposure was partially the result of the failure of their employer and the battery manufacturing plant to train them properly as required by OSHA. Because lead is inherently ultra-hazardous in nature it is specifically covered under federal Occupational and Safety and Health laws. 29 CFR § 1910.1025. In 1979 NIOSH expanded the code to provide for medical monitoring, record keeping, employee education and training, medical removal protection, hygiene facilities and practices, respiratory protection, protective clothing and equipment. The workers filed suit in 2008, but after two years of little activity to move the case forward, Mr. Thomas was asked to join the suit in 2010. Once involved, he aggressively litigated the case for less than a year resolved the matter in a confidential settlement.