A former railroad conductor says repeated demands to lift heavy objects and dismount railcars caused him to develop debilitating left knee injuries.

Michael R. Gross filed a lawsuit April 19 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Union Pacific Railroad Company.

In his complaint, Gross alleges he worked as a brakeman and conductor for Union Pacific from Aug. 29, 1972, through March 1, 2012. Throughout his career, Gross was exposed to repetitive trauma when he was required to dismount railroad cars, to repeatedly lift heavy objects in awkward positions, to walk in unkempt yards, to release poorly maintained handbrakes and to continuously ride on tracks that were inadequately maintained, according to the complaint.

In addition to his knee injuries, Gross experienced pain and suffering, incurred medical costs, lost earnings, suffered disability and endured emotional damage, including anxiety and depression, the suit states.

Gross blames Union Pacific for causing his injuries, saying it negligently failed to provide him with a safe place to work and with safe equipment, required him to work on uneven surfaces and in rail yards that were not adequately cleaned and required him to disembark from moving railcars, among other negligent acts.

In his complaint, Gross seeks a judgment of more than $150,000, plus other relief the court deems just.

Phillip A. Cervantes, Leonard P. Cervantes, Jennifer L. Suttmoeller and Douglas B. McKeechan of Cervantes and Associates in St. Louis will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-201.

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