Callis to open FELA trial against CSX on Monday

Amelia Flood Jan. 27, 2011, 9:55am


Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis is set to open a trial involving a railroad worker's case against CSX Transportation Monday.

Plaintiff Victor Hawkins is suing CSX for violations of the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) in relation to an on-the-job injury he suffered in November 2005.

The former conductor is seeking damages in excess of $100,000 and costs.

CSX denies the claims.

Callis denied a motion for summary judgment in the suit Wednesday, finding that issues of fact were in dispute and that the case needed to go to a jury.

The trial will begin with jury selection at 9 a.m. on Monday.

According to his complaint, Hawkins, a native of Evansville, Ind., was working as a train conductor on a CSX train running through Earlington, Ky. when he was injured by a high voltage line that collapsed on the train tracks due to a tornado.

Hawkins claims the line caused the train to send him and his crew flying forward, resulting in severe injuries to his body including his right shoulder.

The plaintiff contends CSX failed to warn him and the crew about the bad weather in the area, did not provide a safe work environment, did not supply the proper tools for Hawkins to do his job and failed to provide enough manpower to do the job.

The complaint also claims Hawkins suffered repetitive traumas during his career with CSX that the company could have prevented.

The company contends that Hawkins contributed to his injuries and present state.

The railroad claims Hawkins has not mitigated his damages and that he has received medical benefits, advances, and other relief that should be set-off in any judgment against the company.

CSX, represented by Richard Nash, won a jury verdict last year in a FELA case brought by a former track inspector.

David Jones represents Hawkins.

The case is Madison case number 07-L-084.

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