A Union Pacific Railroad Company employee is suing the railroad over a musculoskeletal disease he claims he developed after working with the company's unsafe equipment.

Albert Wickam filed a lawsuit July 13 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Union Pacific Railroad Company.

Wickam claims he worked as a carman for the company since 1971, and during the course of his work was subjected to risk factors for the development of cumulative trauma or musculoskeletal disorders in his back and spine.

"The Defendant has known for years that the equipment and tools furnished to the Plaintiff and other similarly situated employees were not ergonomically designed to reduce or eliminate the risk factors for the development of the disorders alleged in this lawsuit," the complaint says.

Wickam points at 24 negligent acts the company performed throughout his employment with it, including its failure to provide him with a safe work environment, its requirement that he perform forceful, repetitive movements without allowing him sufficient rest or adequate assistance and its requirement that he work with heavy machinery that vibrated and jarred his back.

Because of the company's actions, Wickam suffered permanent and disabling injuries to his back and spine, which have required or may require surgical intervention; experienced pain, suffering, psychological and emotional injury, mental anguish and anxiety, all of which will continue into the future; and suffered severe pain with limitation of function and movement, according to the complaint. He also incurred medical costs, lost wages and fringe benefits and suffered an impaired ability to work, the suit states.

Wickam is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs.

Roger C. Denton and Richard J. Zalasky of Schlichter, Bogard and Denton in St. Louis will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-370.

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