FELA suit filed against Norfolk Southern

Steve Gonzalez May 3, 2005, 5:31pm

Benton Jefcoat filed a Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) lawsuit seeking damages in excess of $50,000 in Madison County Circuit Court May 3 against his employer, Norfolk Southern Railway.

Jefcoat claims that during the course of his employment as a maintenance worker he was exposed to repetitive trauma to his body, and in particular, his shoulders, arms, elbows, wrists, and hands which caused him to suffer permanent and serious injuries.

Jefcoat claims Norfolk was negligent because it failed to provide:

  • A reasonably safe place to work;
  • Safe and suitable tools and equipment to perform the tasks assigned to him; and
  • Reasonably safe methods of work.

    "Jefcoat discovered his condition of ill-being was due to the railroad's negligence around March or April of 2004," the complaint states.

    Jefcoat is represented by Robert Schmieder of Pratt & Tobin of East Alton. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge George Moran.

    The Federal Employers Liability Act was passed by the United States Congress to protect and compensate railroaders injured on the job.
    Unlike state worker's compensation laws, FELA requires the injured person must prove that the railroad was "legally negligent" in causing the injury.

    After proving negligence, the injured railroader is entitled to full compensation, which is usually many times greater than that provided by state worker's compensation for non-railroad workers.

    05 L 429

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