Harold Crocker of South Fulton, Tenn. filed a Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) suit in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis against Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad Oct. 24.
He is seeking $2 million for permanent occupational injuries to his arms, hands and back, past lost wages, future lost wages and fringe benefits, impairment of his earning capacity, past and future physical pain and mental anguish and past and future medical expenses.
“Crocker has been exposed to repetitive traumas and strains because of the negligence of the defendant and the accumulated effects of the deleterious exposures have caused permanent injury and damage to Crocker’s hands, arms and spine,” the complaint states.
According to Crocker, he has been employed by Canadian and its corporate predecessors since 1979, and performed the duties of a track laborer, brakeman, flagman, yardmaster and locomotive engineer in the states of Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois.
Crocker claims the railroad was negligent for failing to provide adequate help, assistance, equipment, breaks, assignments and protection against cumulative trauma.
During the 14 years he worked as a brakeman and flagman, Crocker claims he struggled to operate switches and derails, align drawbars, couple and uncouple air hoses and operate hand brakes and other equipment that was either defective or had not been properly maintained.
“Crocker was required to ride on equipment for unreasonably extended periods which exposed him to excessive, severe and unexpected, shocks and jolts due to unsafe track conditions, inadequate drainage, locomotive seats that were not securely mounted or were otherwise defective and locomotives with excessive lateral motion," the complaint states.
According to the complaint, Crocker developed carpal tunnel syndrome in both his arms and hands and also developed lumbar radiculitis and lumbar disc syndrome and other damage to the structures of his low back.
He is represented by F. Tucker Burge of Burge & Burge in Birmingham Ala.
The case has been assigned to Chief Judge G. Patrick Murphy.