FELA trial involing CSX worker gets started in St. Clair County

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Mar 27, 2013

A trial involving a railroad worker's Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) case against CSX Transportation has gotten under way this week in St. Clair County Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot’s courtroom.

Dennis Hartman filed suit in 2005 claiming the company did not provide him with a safe place to work.

Hartman claims that on Aug. 6, 2004, while working at Rose Lake Yard in East St. Louis as a machine operator, he sustained a permanent and disabling injury.

Hartman alleges CSX failed to provide him with a working area which was not defective, failed to remove debris and oversized ballast from work surfaces, failed to inspect work surfaces and failed to keep its work surfaces adjacent to the road bed free of obstruction.

Hartman is represented by Philadelphia attorney James Duckworth.

“They caused him numerous harms,” Duckworth told jurors.

According to the lawsuit, Hartman suffered injuries to his knees, bones and soft tissues of his leg, pain, lost wages and became liable for medical expenses and sustained a permanent impairment of his earning capacity.

Duckworth said that CSX violated safety rules.

“There wasn’t regular cleanup," he said. "They took away a necessary safety measure. They took away the trash cans, because apparently birds were getting the lunch from the trash can. They could have just put a lid on it."

Belleville attorney Charles Swartwout, representing CSX, told the jury that Hartman had osteoarthritis.

And according to Swartout, experts were expected to testify that Hartman had a pre-existing condition that was responsible for his injuries.

St. Clair County case number 05-L-339

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