Locomotive engineer sues after fracturing middle finger

Michelle Keahey Sep. 17, 2012, 4:44am


NEW ORLEANS - A locomotive engineer has filed a federal lawsuit after he fractured his middle finger when his glove got stuck on a rough handbrake.

Leo W. Persick Jr. filed suit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. on Aug. 23 in federal court in New Orleans.

On Sept. 20, 2010, while working as a locomotive engineer in the BNSF Lafayette Yard, Persick states he was attempting to release a handbrake on his locomotive when his gloved hand became caught on the handbrake.

His hand twisted, causing him to fracture his right middle finger, the suit states.

According to the lawsuit, the backside of the handbrake was extremely rough from paint drippings where employees had spray painted the locomotive with the date for its next inspection.

The defendant is accused of violating the Federal Employer's Liability Act and the Locomotive Inspection Act and for negligence by failing to provide a reasonably safe place to work, failing to provide safe working conditions and proper equipment, failing to warn Persick of unsafe workplace conditions of which it knew, failing to exercise due care and caution, in that the malfunction of the defective handbrake on the locomotive engine in the possession and control of BNSF renders it liable under the Federal Safety Appliances Act, and in that the locomotive were not in proper condition and safe to operate without unnecessary dangerous of person injury, rendering BNSF absolutely liable under the Locomotive Inspection Act.

The plaintiff is seeking damages for physical pain and suffering, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, lost wages, fringe benefits, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, court costs, and interest.

Persick is represented by Carisa German-Oden, Joseph M. Miller and Benjamin B. Saunders of Davis Saunders in Mandeville. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-02157

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