Plaintiff who lost wants a new trial against CSX Transportation

Amelia Flood Jan. 26, 2011, 7:10am

Collignon Gunn

A former railroad track supervisor who lost at trial in a case against CSX Transportation, is asking for another chance.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth, who oversaw the October trial, will hear the motion filed by plaintiff Russell "Dewey" Aper at 9 a.m. on Feb. 4.

Aper's former employer, CSX Transportation, argues in its Jan. 14 response that there is no claim that the court made any error that warrants a new trial and that the jury did not find against the weight of the evidence.

Aper claims that CSX didn't provide him with a safe working environment.

That environment, according to Aper's 2007 suit, led him to injure his back in October 2006.

CSX claims that Aper did not take proper care or call for help to do the heavy lifting his job required despite being able to do so.

Aper's attorney, Amy Collignon Gunn asked jurors for damages in excess of $500,000.

The jury in the case found for CSX Oct. 14, 2010.

According to his motion, Aper claims that he presented evidence that his direct supervisor knew about a previous back injury he had suffered a month before the October 2006 injury and that Aper had a long history of back issues.

He claims he informed the railroad he needed help to do his job but that he was then assigned to a one-man job requiring heavy lifting.

Aper claims that the jury found against the weight of the evidence presented at trial.

In its response, CSX dismisses Aper's claims.

CSX points to Ruth's denial of its two motions for directed verdicts.

"There was direct and circumstantial factual evidence in the trial that arguably could support a verdict for either party, and it was up to the jury to determine what the facts were and what conclusions should be drawn from those facts," CSX argued in its response. "That is exactly what the jury did. It carried out its function and reached a verdict."

The railroad calls the evidence listed from the plaintiff's case in his post-trial motion "a very selective, reworked version of plaintiff's arguments at trial."

Richard Nash represents CSX.

The case is Madison case number 07-L-592.

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