Norfolk Southern learned this week that it will face two civil lawsuits from two former company employees who claim they suffered serious, disabling injuries, in part, as a result of negligence by NS. Both of the plaintiffs in the suits filed their claims in Mingo County, WV, under the provisions of the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.
This video provides some basics about FELA claims:
According to a report on the lawsuit filings in the Jan. 21 Williamson (WV) Daily News, former NS trackman/machine operator Carl L. Felts is seeking $10 million from the company, and former conductor Richard A. Saunders is seeking $10 million.
An NS vehicle Felts was operating while on company business was struck by another vehicle, and Felts suffered back, neck, leg and body injuries. Felts is alleging that NS bears liability for the accident for, the newspaper notes,
failing to furnish the plaintiff with reasonably necessary and proper equipment and personal protective equipment; (not providing) proper supervision in the performance of his assigned duties, and failing to warn him of reasonably foreseeable hazardous conditions existing with defendant’s equipment. … (And allowing) unsafe practices to become the standard practice; assign(ing) the plaintiff work plaintiff should have known would result in injury; fail(ing) to provide a reasonably safe place to work and … not provid(ing) reasonably safe methods of work.
Saunders has made similar allegations against NS in relation to neck, back, shoulder, knee and body injuries he suffered when a trail derailed, hit and collapsed a West Virginia building on which Saunders was standing.
FELA recognizes both railroad companies’ and workers’ negligence as possible causes of accidents that result in injury, so Felts and Saunders will need to show that actions NS and its representatives took or did not take led to the incidents in which the men got hurt.