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Suit: Workers Sprayed With ‘Bodily Fluid’ During Morgue Cleaning Job

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CHICAGO (STMW) — Two men are suing Cook County because bodily fluid was allegedly accidentally dumped on them when they were hired to clean a drainage pit last year at the medical examiner’s facility on the West Side.

Joseph Alessio and Michael J. Alessio claim they were injured June 23, 2012, while cleaning a drainage pit that caught bodily fluids from work conducted in the morgue, according to the suit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

No one should have been allowed to use the drainage system while they were working, they claim. But midway through the job, someone used the drains and they were “sprayed with unknown hazardous substances including bodily fluid” from one or more bodies being processed, the suit says.

Both men claim the ordeal left them injured and emotionally traumatized. The litigation does not specify their employer.

The suit blames Cook County for failing to warn morgue employees not to use the drainage system and for not having a shut-off mechanism to allow safe cleaning of the pit.

The suit also names Addison-based HazChem Environmental Corp. as a defendant, but does not elaborate as to why the private company is named in the suit.

A Cook County spokesperson said officials have not yet been served with the suit, and could not comment on it as of Wednesday evening. A HazChem representative could not be reached.w

The men and their wives, Carrie Alessio and Jayne Alessio, are claiming willful and wanton conduct, negligence, emotional distress and loss of consortium. The seven-count suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)