Union Pacific worker claims more injuries during 'return to work test'

By Kelly Holleran | Jul 21, 2009

A woman has filed an amended complaint against Union Pacific Railroad Company after she says she became aware of additional causes of action against the company.

Andrea Doorack claims she worked as an engineer for Union Pacific when she injured her right knee and both hips on Nov. 9, 2006, as she was attempting to release a handbrake on a train car in Villa Grove.

Because of her injury, Doorack was forced to leave work until her attempt to return to work in Dupo on June 28, 2007, the suit states.

Before Doorack was allowed to return to work, she was forced to take a return to work test during which she was required to carry a heavy knuckle over uneven ground, walk a considerable distance on a steep incline and walk on loose and uneven ballast, according to the amended complaint filed July 14 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Because of the test she was required to perform, Doorack sustained injuries to her right knee and both hips and experienced pain and suffering, the suit states. She also was forced to undergo multiple surgeries, suffered psychological and emotional injury, mental anguish and anxiety, incurred medical costs and lost wages and benefits, the complaint says.

In addition, Doorack sustained injuries to her left hip, back, knees and feet throughout the course of her employment because she was required to work in locomotives with inadequate cab seats and excessive lateral and vertical motion, the suit states.

Doorack blames Union Pacific for a number of negligent acts, including its failure to provide her with a safe work place and safe work conditions; its failure to conduct a return to work test in a safe manner; and its failure to exercise ordinary care when it required Doorack to carry a heavy knuckle, to walk on uneven ground, to walk on an uneven ballast and to perform duties on an uneven incline.

She also says the company violated the Safety Appliance Act by its defective cars.

In the four-count suit, Doorack is seeking a judgment in excess of $300,000, plus costs.

She is represented by Roger C. Denton and Julia M. Eades of Schlichter, Bogard and Denton in St. Louis.

Doorack filed her first complaint against the company on July 2.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-371.

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