Carman claims injuries in suit against Union Pacific

By Kelly Holleran | Jun 5, 2009

A former Union Pacific Railway Company employee claims he endured substantial pain after injuring his lower back and tearing ligaments in his left knee while working for the railroad.

Terry Lee Burris says he worked as a carman and a working car foreman for Union Pacific at its Dupo Illinois Car Shop from July 7, 1969, until May 19.

According to the complaint filed May 27 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Burris was required to use equipment that was not ergonomically designed, such as impact wrenches, pry bars, hammers and screwdrivers, in an awkward and "bent over" position. He also had to lift heavy tools in awkward positions with unstable footing, causing him to sustain injuries to his low back, the suit states.

Because of his work, Burris says he sustained severe and permanent injuries to the muscles, tendons, nerves, ligaments and discs of his lower back and spine, which may require surgery, and aggravated a pre-existing condition in his lower back and right leg. He also tore his left bicep muscle, suffered an upper extremity injury that could not be surgically repaired and tore the meniscus in his left knee.

In addition, Burris experienced pain and suffering, incurred permanent disfigurement and disability, lost large sums of money because of his inability to work, sustained an impairment of his earning capacity and incurred medical costs, according to the complaint.

Union Pacific negligently failed to provide Burris with a safe work place, failed to provide him with proper equipment, provided him with improper equipment, failed to provide him with sufficient space, failed to maintain tools so they could be operated without danger of injury, failed to exercise adequate care for the health of its employees and failed to provide him with adequate instructions, among other negligent acts, the complaint says.

In the three-count suit, Burris is seeking a judgment in excess of $150,000, plus costs.

Fritz G. Faerber and Christine E. Anderson of Faerber and Anderson in St. Louis will be representing him.

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