Veolia allegedly allowed employee to remove hazardous chemicals without protection

Michelle Keahey Oct. 7, 2011, 3:38am


An employee of a waste services company has filed a lawsuit against his employer for not telling him that he needed protective gear in order to move hazardous chemical products.

Irwin Wiles filed suit against Veolia Water North America d/b/a Veolia Water, Veolia Water Operating America-South, Veolia Water North America Operating Services, Veolia Environmental Services and Zurich American Insurance on Aug. 29 in St. Bernard Parish District Court.

The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Sept. 26.

According to the lawsuit, on Aug. 29, 2010, Wiles was instructed by the defendants to remove large amounts of a chemical product from the defendants' premises. Wiles states he did not know that the chemical product was hazardous and toxic to humans. During the removal process, he suffered inhalation and skin exposure, which caused severe bodily injuries, the suit claims.

The defendant is accused of failing to provide Wiles with proper personal protective gear, failing to warn Wiles of the hazardous and toxic nature of the chemical product to be removed, failing to take the proper safety precautions/procedures, failing to provide Wiles with proper and prompt emergency medical attention, failing to properly train, monitor and supervisor its employees and failing to provide Wiles with information regarding the health hazards associated with exposure.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, physical disability, disfigurement, impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, fear and increased likelihood of development of cancer and other debilitating diseases, fear and increased likelihood of development of damage to vital organs and reproductive system and central nervous system, development of mutation and birth defects in future offspring, loss of consortium, services and society, interest and court costs.

Wiles is represented by Richard P. Voorhies of Alvendia Kelly and Demarest in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-02421

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