Railroader claims CNRC failed to provide safe work place

Steve Gonzalez Aug. 7, 2007, 6:36am

An employee of Canadian National Railway Company (CNRC) filed a Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) complaint in U.S. District Court Aug. 7, seeking damages in excess of $300,000 claiming the railroad failed to provide him a safe place to work.

Tony Matlock claims he injured his left knee on Aug. 24, 2004, when he was required to climb under a motorized flat car with a crescent to shift the car.

Passed by the U.S. Congress in 1908, FELA was designed to protect and compensate railroaders who sustain injuries while working. Unlike state workers' compensation law, FELA requires the injured worker to prove that the railroad was "legally negligent," at least in part, in causing an injury.

According to Matlock, while pulling on the crescent wrench he felt his knee "pop" which caused "serious and permanent injuries."

He claims CNRC violated FELA by negligently and carelessly failing to provide him with proper tools and equipment to perform his duties.

Under FELA, injured workers can seek compensation for wage losses past and future, medical expenses and treatments, pain and suffering, and for partial or permanent disability. If an employee dies, survivors are entitled to recover damages which they have suffered because of the death.

After proving negligence, the injured worker is entitled to full compensation, which is usually many times greater than that provided by state workers' compensation benefits for non-railroaders which provide benefits on a no-fault basis.

FELA allows a claim to be brought in federal or state court, whichever better suits the employee's convenience or purpose. The case may be filed in any city into which a railroad passes, or even where the railroad has no tracks but has a business office.

Matlock also claims CNRC failed to provide him with adequate assistance, failed to provide adequate supervision and failed to repair and maintain their machines in a safe condition.

Matlock claims the injuries to his left knee caused a disability, great pain and mental anguish, lost wages and medical expenses.

He is represented by David Blunt and Paul Slocomb of Blunt and Associates in Edwardsville.

The case has been assigned to District Judge David Herndon.

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Organizations in this Story

Canadian National Railway

Montreal, QC

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