Barge company claims plaintiff in lawsuit had prior injury

Alter Barge Line claims a deckhand’s lawsuit against the company should be dismissed. The company responded Jan. 10 to a lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Ross, who claims he was mistreated by company doctors handling his work-related injury. Ross claims he hurt his lower back while attempting to remove a steel cable on board the M/V Kathy Ellen in November 2009. According to the complaint filed last November, Ross went to Midwest Occupational Medicine in Wood River for evaluation and treatment of his injuries. Ross contends the doctors at the clinic, hired by Alter Barge Line, refused to take an accurate medical history and accused him of faking an injury as a guise to obtain pain medicine. In its defense, Alter Barge Line says the plaintiff injured his back prior to the alleged injury described in the lawsuit. While working aboard the M/V Kathy Ellen, Ross had prescription medications for pain and muscle spasms, including Flector patches and Skelaxin 800 mg tablets, Alter Barge Line claims. Ross was likely to have applied or ingested those medications prior to the alleged injury in the lawsuit, in violation of the defendant’s company policies, according to Alter Barge Line. Alter Barge Line also states the plaintiff’s injury was caused by his own negligence, in failing to care for his own safety and failing to perform his job duties in a careful manner. Robert Nienhuis and Lauren Cohen of Goldstein and Price represent the defense. Attorney Roy C. Dripps of Alton represents Ross. The case is assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian. Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-1852

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