A former Pacific Rail Service operating engineer has filed a Federal Employer's Liability Act lawsuit against CSX Transportation and CSX Intermodal for hand and thumb injuries.

Cletus W. Smelser of Troy claims he fell from a ladder while climbing down from a crane on CSX property on Aug. 18, 2004.

The complaint, filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court April 19, seeks in excess of $150,000 in damages.

Smelser is represented by John M. English of Kassly, Bone, English & Hillebrand in Belleville.

"Although technically employed by Pacific Rail Service, (Smelser) was 'an employee' of the defendants...in that Pacific Rail Service was a servant of the defendants and therefore plaintiff was a sub-servant of the defendants," the complaint states.

Smelser claims the CSX Transportation and CSX Intermodal were negligent for failing to warn him of the existence of hazardous conditions in getting on and off the crane, among other things.

"The plaintiff has been caused to suffer severe, disabling and permanent injuries," the complaint states.

Smelser also claims lost wages and medical treatment.

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