Former CSX trackman claims multiple, repetitive injuries

Kelly Holleran Apr. 26, 2010, 6:45am

A former CSX Transportation worker claims he sustained severe and permanent injuries to his body after being exposed to repetitive stress throughout his career.

Tommy Jarrell filed a lawsuit April 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against CSX Transportation.

Jarrell alleges he worked as a trackman for CSX for "many years," and provided railroad track maintenance and repair as part of his job tasks. Jarrell's job required him to use a variety of hand and power tools to repair and install wooden ties, replace track, secure rails to ties and place switches and frogs, according to the complaint.

"Plaintiff routinely and repetitively walked on uneven surfaces and ballast, often carrying tools weighing in excess of 50 pounds for long distances," the suit states. "Plaintiff routinely did bending and stooping while gathering materials, pulling and hammering spikes, and spreading ballast. Plaintiff routinely squatted while adjusting bolts, switches, or track gauge, and unloading ballast. Plaintiff routinely crouched while measuring track, setting jacks, or using hand tools. Plaintiff routinely knelt while replacing switches, frogs, tie plates, and track bolts. Plaintiff routinely had to climb up track embankments or up into trucks to load materials. Plaintiff routinely had to carry and lift his tools, frequently carrying tools such as a hydraulic spike puller over long distances from his truck to the work site."

Because of his work and the recent requirement that Jarrell work overtime to finish his assigned tasks, Jarrell's repetitive stress injuries grew worse in the past few years, the complaint says.

Jarrell claims he further exacerbated his injuries on May 23, 2007, when he attempted to pull a "dead head" spike after derailment near Evansville, which caused injuries to his right shoulder and spine.

In addition to his severe and permanent injuries, Jarrell claims he sustained an aggravation to a pre-existing condition, endured pain and suffering, incurred permanent disability and disfigurement, lost wages, incurred medical costs and lost his normal life.

Jarrell blames CSX for causing his injuries, saying the railroad negligently failed to provide him with a safe work place, failed to provide him with sufficient manpower, failed to provide him with safe work methods, failed to provide him with appropriate equipment, failed to monitor the workplace to reduce injuries to employees, failed to keep its automated equipment in proper working order, failed to provide an hydraulic spike puller and failed to provide sufficient manpower to accomplish the tasks at hand.

In his two-count suit, Jarrell seeks a judgment of more than $100,000, plus damages and costs.

Ryan Brennan and Edward F. Brennan of The Brennan Law Firm in Belleville will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-183.

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