Railroad trackman claims job requirements were so strenuous

Kelly Holleran Jul. 1, 2010, 2:28am

An Olney man claims the job requirements of his former employer were so strenuous that he developed problems in his neck, spine and upper and lower extremities.

Ashby Leaf filed a lawsuit May 28 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad.

Leaf claims he worked as a track repairman throughout Illinois for the railroad company. During his tenure, Leaf's job requirements exposed him to prolonged lifting, kneeling, crawling, squatting, pulling, pushing, climbing, awkward back positions, unsafe ergonomic designs and unsafe work methods on a daily basis, according to the complaint. Leaf's work increased his susceptibility for aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation and re-injury, the suit states.

In April 2009, Leaf experienced pain and discomfort in his neck after setting a defective hand brake, a move that required extensive force, the suit states.

As a result of his work and the April incident, Leaf sustained disk rupture and cervical disc pathology, causing him pain, nervousness and mental anguish, the complaint says. In addition, his ability to work has been severely diminished and he has suffered a diminished wage earning capacity, he claims.

Leaf blames Illinois Central Railroad for causing his injuries, saying it negligently failed to provide him with a safe place to work, failed to provide him with safe equipment, failed to provide him with adequate manpower, failed to provide him with adequate mechanical assistance, failed to provide him with necessary equipment, failed to provide him with proper supervision, failed to warn him of hazardous conditions, allowed unsafe practices to become standard, assigned him duties it knew were beyond his physical abilities and assigned him duties that it knew would aggravate his prior condition.

In his complaint, Leaf seeks a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Paul W. Johnson of The Law Office of Paul W. Johnson in Belleville and Patrick Cowan of the Law Office of H. Chris Christy will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-265.

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