A Decatur man claims he suffered permanent injuries after attempting to release a defective and malfunctioning handbrake on a train.

Phillip Michael Boaz filed a lawsuit May 30 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Norfolk Southern Railway Company.

In his complaint, Boaz alleges he was working as a locomotive engineer for Norfolk Southern Railway Company on March 9 when he attempted to release a hand brake in Norfolk Southern Railway Company’s yard in Madison. However, the brake was not in working order, according to the complaint.

In addition to his injuries, Boaz experienced pain and suffering, incurred permanent disfigurement and disability and lost wages because of the incident, the suit states. He also sustained a permanently impaired earning capacity and incurred medical costs, the complaint says.

Boaz blames Norfolk Sothern Railway Company for causing his injuries, saying it violated the Locomotive Inspection Act by allowing a locomotive hand brake that failed to function to be used on its train and by failing to provide components on its train that endangered the safety of the crew.

He also says the railroad company is guilty of negligence because it failed to provide him with a safe place to work, failed to provide him with a safe place to perform his work, allowed a defective hand brake to be used on its vehicle, failed to provide an efficient hand brake, failed to maintain and repair its hand brake and allowed an unsafe practice to become common.

In his complaint, Boaz seeks a judgment of more than $150,000, plus costs and pre-judgment interest.

John P. Kujawski of Kujawski Marcus in O’Fallon will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-271.

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