A man who says he has suffered herniated discs and a hernia because of his work has filed suit against his employer.

John A. Neal claims he first received his bilateral inguinal hernias in November 2007 while employed as a machine operator and trackman for Union Pacific Railroad Company.

For his hernias, Neal was forced to undergo treatment at Jonesboro Surgical Associates, according to the complaint.

Again, Neal was injured on Jan. 19, 2008, and was later diagnosed with herniated discs, the suit states.

"This injury occurred while attempting to remove a spike pursuant to his instructions and job assignment," the complaint says.

Neal's back injury forced him to undergo spinal surgery on July 8, 2008, he claims.

In addition to his hernias and his back problems, Neal's job has also caused him excess wear on his upper and lower extremities, aggravation to his hypertension, loss of muscle strength and agility and the permanent loss of the physical function of his spine and low back, according to the complaint.

Neal's back, neck, shoulders, arms, groin area and hands have been permanently impaired; he has experienced physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of his enjoyment of life; he has lost earnings and benefits; and he has suffered disfigurement, the suit states. In addition, he has incurred medical costs.

The suit states Union Pacific is guilty of many negligent acts, including its failure to provide Neal with a safe place to work, its requirement that Neal perform job duties that demand excessive use of many of his body parts, its failure to warn Neal of the risks to which he is exposed, its requirement that Neal use unsafe tools and equipment, its requirement that Neal perform job duties that required repetitive use of his hands without adequate equipment and its failure to provide Neal with a reasonably safe place to work, the suit states.

Neal is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, plus post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just.

He will be represented by David P. Finney III in St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-480.

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