Heather Isringhausen Gvillo May 21, 2015, 8:53am


Union Pacific Railroad seeks to dismiss an employee’s lawsuit alleging emotional distress after a woman was struck and killed by an Amtrak train near where he was working.

The railroad calls the complaint “vague.”

James Paul Browne filed a lawsuit against Union Pacific on Feb. 17, following the fatal Feb. 28, 2012, accident.

Browne claims the incident, which killed a 27-year-old woman at a crossing in Venice, caused him emotional injuries due to “fearing for his own life and physical safety.”

“[A] woman got struck by an Amtrak train, propelling her into the old signal/train maintenance shed adjacent to the maintenance shed where he was working,” the suit states.

Browne seeks damages under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.

In addition to emotional injuries for which he claims he has received medical, hospital, rehabilitative and therapeutic care and treatment, he also claims physical injuries as a result of repetitive actions that caused unusual stress and strain on the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, tissues, muscles, fibers and nerves of his back and neck.

Union Pacific filed a motion to dismiss on March 30 through attorney Thomas E. Jones of Thompson Coburn LLP in Belleville, arguing the complaint fails to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted.

The defendant also claims Count II is time barred by the three-year statute of limitations, which applies to Federal Employer’s Liability Act lawsuits. In Count II, Browne claims he sustained repetitive injuries throughout his career with Union Pacific.

However, Union Pacific claims Count II fails to allege when, where and how the defendant was negligent or the plaintiff was allegedly injured.

“Furthermore, the allegations contained within Count II of plaintiff’s complaint are vague, indefinite and fail to adequate apprise defendant Union Pacific Railroad Company as to what it is called upon to defend,” the motion states.

As for Count I, Union Pacific argues that the complaint does not contain any allegations of fact which would support any of the plaintiff’s conclusory allegations. Count I makes allegations under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act.

“The plaintiff purportedly is attempting to recover damages for mental, psychological and emotional injuries without any physical injuries,” the motion states.

Circuit Judge William Mudge scheduled a motion hearing for May 28 at 1 p.m.

Browne seeks a judgment of more than $50,000 in damages.

Patrick O’Brien of St. Louis represents Browne.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-210

Organizations in this Story

Thompson Coburn LLP
525 W Main St
Belleville, IL 62220

Union Pacific
1400 Douglas St
Omaha, NE 68179

Get notified the next time we write about any of these organizations!

More News