Deadlines set in lawsuit against barge company

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Mar 6, 2013

Alter Barge Line

Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian has set a trial date in a deckhand’s case against Alter Barge Line.

On Feb. 27, Matoesian set a May 2014 trial date and ordered depositions to be completed by March 28, 2014.

Alter Barge Line responded Jan. 10 to a lawsuit filed by Jeffrey Ross, who claims he was mistreated by company doctors handling his work-related injury.

Ross claims he hurt his lower back while attempting to remove a steel cable on board the M/V Kathy Ellen in November 2009.

According to the November 2012 complaint, Ross went to Midwest Occupational Medicine in Wood River for evaluation and treatment of his injuries. He says the clinic doctors, hired by Alter Barge Line, refused to take an accurate medical history and accused him of faking an injury to obtain pain medicine.

In its response, Alter Barge Line says the plaintiff injured his back prior to the alleged injury described in the lawsuit. While working aboard the M/V Kathy Ellen, Ross had prescription medications for pain and muscle spasms, including Flector patches and Skelaxin 800 mg tablets, the document states.

Ross was likely to have applied or ingested those medications prior to the alleged injury in the lawsuit, in violation of the defendant’s company policies, according to Alter Barge Line.

Alter Barge Line also stated the plaintiff’s injury was caused by his own negligence.

Ross denied Alter Barge Line’s allegations in his reply to affirmative defense, filed Jan. 22.

Robert Nienhuis and Lauren Cohen of Goldstein and Price represent the defense.

Attorney Roy C. Dripps of Alton represents Ross.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-1852

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