A pre-trial conference is set next week in the retrial of the damages issue in an Arkansas man's FELA suit against Union Pacific Railroad Co.

Plaintiff Phillip Charles Roberts won $250,000 out of a $500,000 verdict in the suit's trial last August.

The pre-trial is set for 10 a.m. on Dec. 15.

The jury in the case found that Roberts of North Little Rock, Ark.
Was 50 percent liable for the lower back injury he claimed to have suffered after tripping along Union Pacific's tracks near Wood River.

Union Pacific argued that Roberts' injury could have been the result of a pre-existing condition with the discs in his back and that he didn't heed warnings about trip hazards.

The suit's trial was disrupted several times due to a collapsing juror, power outage and ringing cell phones.

Both sides asked Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth for a new trial on the damages issue following the Aug. 24, 2009 verdict.

Ruth entered an order shortly after granting that request.

Most recently, Ruth denied a move by Union Pacific on Nov. 22 that would have barred a plaintiff expert's testimony.

Ruth also granted a request by the railroad to push off the Dec. 6 damages trial in the case.

Daniel Francis represents Roberts.

Thomas Jones and Harlan Harla represent the railroad.

The case is Madison case number 07-L-905.

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