A former Norfolk Southern Railway Company employee is suing the railroad after he says he fell while operating an excavator on train tracks.

Deonicio Arguelles says he was working for Norfolk Southern as a machine operator and laborer on July 27, 2006, when the incident occurred.

Arguelles was operating an excavator on Norfolk Southern's railroad tracks near Mishawaka, Indiana. He was loading bundles of old ties during a storm when the excavator slipped off the tracks and turned over, causing him to suffer injuries to his spine and a hernia, according to the complaint filed June 29 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Arguelles, who worked for Norfok Southern as a track supervisor from March 1, 1977, through Sept. 9, says he also experienced long-term repetitive trauma to his spine and hernia caused by his career.

Because of his work and his excavator fall, Arguelles also experienced permanent injuries to his neck and back that caused him to suffer great pain and mental anguish, lost earnings and incurred medical expenses, the complaint says.

Norfolk Southern violated numerous provisions in the Federal Employers' Liability Act, including failing to provide Arguelles with a safe place to work, failing to provide him with safe tools and equipment and failing to provide him with safe work methods, the suit states.

In the two-count suit, Arguelles is seeking unspecified damages, plus costs.

Michael G. Burnworth of Blunt Slocomb in Edwardsville will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-676.

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