Missouri plant worker awarded $28 million over lung damage from cutting tools cooling chemical

by Charles Miller

Philip Berger worked in Lebanon, Missouri at Copeland Scroll Compressors, a firm owned by Emerson Climate Technologies. Berger developed inflammation of the lung, a condition he blames on breathing contaminants from a chemical used to cool cutting tools.

Berger alleges that his injuries stem from a ventilator failing and a vapor cloud filling his work area. Doctors have diagnosed Berger with hypersensitivity pneumonitis, caused by exposure to mold and bacteria found in the fluid. Berger has significantly reduced lung function.

A jury in Laclede County, Missouri jury has ordered the Emerson subsidiary to pay $28 million to Berger. The verdict includes $5 million in actual damages and $23 million in punitive damages. The jury agreed with Berger’s claims that the company knew about the dangers of working with the fluid but didn’t warn employees or provide safety training. The same ailment has allegedly affected 300 employees at 16 metal-working facilities since 1990.

The law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson was founded on the principle that everyone—including workers who are hurt on the job and victims of dangerous drugs or other defective products— should have access to experienced legal counsel. Our firm is AV-rated, the highest possible ranking from Martindale-Hubbell, the leading organization for law firm ratings. Our partners Michael Heygood, Jim Orr, and Eric Pearson have been voted by their peers as “Super Lawyers” in the state of Texas for several years in a row.*

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with silicosis, lung cancer, or other respiratory illnesses, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries. Our law firm has years of experience handling workplace injury cases, and will work to ensure that your rights are protected.

For a free legal consultation, contact the attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by filling out the brief consultation form located at the top of this page.


Michael Heygood, James Craig Orr, Jr. and Eric Pearson were selected to the Super Lawyers List, a Thomson Reuters publication, for the years 2003 through 2013.