Texas railroad worker seeks relief by suing in Madison County

Steve Gonzalez May 11, 2005, 1:14pm

A Bell County, Texas railroad engineer wants a Madison County jury to apply Texas law and award him at least $50,000 for injuries he sustained while on the job. He worked in Texas.

Represented by Gerard Schneller of Holland, Groves, & Schneller of St. Louis, David Lewis filed a Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) suit against Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company May 11 asking that a jury of 12 decide a case that has no ties to the county or state.

“Plaintiff’s rights and remedies arise under FELA, and the jurisdiction of this Court are invoked under provisions of said Act,” the complaint states. “Specifically, plaintiff’s exposure occurred in Hardin County, Texas, thus making venue proper pursuant to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.”

According to the complaint, Burlington's principal office is in Hardin County.

Lewis alleges that he was repetitively exposed to unsafe work conditions and injured over the course of his employment with Burlington, which failed to provide safe conditions, ergonomically correct equipment and methods of work.

As a result, he claims he suffered injuries to his spine, discs, vertebrae, low back and legs, and all of his injuries are permanent.

“In all reasonable probability, Lewis will continue to suffer in this manner in a long time into the future, if not for the balance of his natural life, and the injuries have had a serious effect on his health and well being,” the complaint states.

Damages are being sought for lost wages, medical care and hospitalizations.

Lewis also is seeking damages under the Locomotive Inspection Act, claiming Burlington failed to provide him with locomotives that did not pose an unnecessary danger of personal injury.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

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