Railroad engineer claims sleep disorder in $50k suit

Steve Gonzalez Apr. 16, 2008, 11:20pm

A former engineer for Norfolk Southern filed suit against the railroad alleging his sleep disorder was caused by being forced to work "irregular shifts."

Steven Rennels claims he has been diagnosed with Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder (CRSD) which caused him to suffer fatigue, depression, tinnitys, pain and mental anguish.

He claims his injuries were caused in whole or in part from the negligent acts or omissions of Norfolk Southern.

Represented by Ryan Furniss of St. Louis, Rennels alleges Norfolk Southern violated the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) by failing to provide him with a safe place to work.

He also claims the railroad violated FELA by failing to provide adequate rest for its crews, failed to enact a sleep break policy, negligently called him to assignments, failed to warn him of the dangers of irregular sleep and failed to provide him adequate help.

CRSD is in a family of sleep disorders affecting the timing of sleep.

Rennels claims his condition has caused him to undergo medical treatment, tests and therapy, caused him to suffer pain and mental anguish and lose wages and fringe benefits. He also claims he has lost the ability to enjoy the normal pursuits of life.

He is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs of the suit.

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