By Mike Rush
St. Louis (KSDK) - Current and former employees of Ameren UE are suing the company for millions of dollars. The lawsuit states Ameren exposed them to asbestos.
Four current employees and two Ameren retirees are suing Ameren, claiming the company didn't do enough to keep them safe from asbestos exposure.
The Ameren Service Center on Singleton Street in downtown St. Louis is only in limited use right now.
The company says most of the 60 to 70 Ameren employees who normally work there were relocated last month after tests showed asbestos was in the flooring of the building.
An Ameren spokesperson would not say when the testing was done or what led to it, but a lawyer representing the current and former workers claims the asbestos came to light during construction on the roof.
"I do think they knew about the presence of asbestos in this particular building prior to September of 2011, that's when the construction started on the roof. I do think that they had knowledge of it before that," said Lawyer Timothy Engelmeyer.
The lawsuit claims Ameren failed to take steps to protect its employees from asbestos exposure. In addition to seeking lifetime medical monitoring, the lawsuit asks for $5 million per person in punitive damages.
Engelmeyer added, "Exposure to a deadly disease that has no cure, I'm not sure there is a number you could say, or you could ask anybody, you know, is $5 million worth knowing that you've been exposed to asbestos, probably not."
The lawyer says his firm represents a total of 40 to 50 former and current Ameren employees, so they expect more names to be added to the lawsuit.
So far, he says his clients have not shown ill effects of asbestos exposure, but those can take years to form.
An Ameren spokesperson would not comment on the lawsuit, but in a statement stated results of air samples taken in the area were significantly below the clearance levels sets by EPA.
The City of St. Louis does not require companies to test for asbestos.