Winfer "D.D." Abernathy filed a Federal Employers' Liability Act suit against Union Pacific Railroad Co. in St. Clair County Circuit Court Jan. 28.

Abernathy, a maintenance of way worker for the railroad since 1998, claims his employer is negligent for requiring him to perform job duties involving forceful, repetitive use of his back and spine in awkward positions and for requiring him to work with heavy machinery, tools and equipment which vibrated and jarred his back and spine excessively.

He also claims, among many other things, that his employer failed to periodically test employees for the physical effects of cumulative trauma.

Represented by Richard J. Zalasky of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton of St. Louis, Abernathy is seeking in excess of $25,000 in damages plus costs of the suit.

He claims he has suffered disabling injuries to his back and spine.

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