Amtrak sued after passenger falls from step-stool and onto concrete platform

By Michelle Keahey | Sep 11, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - A Jefferson Parish woman has filed a lawsuit against Amtrak claiming she was injured when she fell from a step-stool and onto a concrete platform.

Eilene C. Morris filed suit against National Railroad Passenger Corp. d/b/a “Amtrak” on July 24 in Orleans Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Aug. 27.

The alleged incident occurred on Aug. 8, 2012 as Morris was a passenger aboard Amtrak traveling from Chicago to New Orleans.

Morris claims she attempted to exit the train by stepping down onto a step-stool which had been placed and positioned by an Amtrak employee.  As she exited the train, the Amtrak employee grabbed Morris’ right forearm in a “half-hearted” effort to assist her onto the improperly positioned step-stool which was set on a low platform, the suit claims. When Morris stepped on the stool with her left foot, the employee abruptly released her arm and Morris fell onto the concrete platform, she claims. She claims to have sustained injuries to her neck, ankle, knee, hip and shoulder.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to provide its passengers reasonably safe means for detraining, failing to have a handrail available in the vestibule area, failing to provide a platform at the New Orleans Amtrak station that would have provided a step down with a distance similar to platforms at other Amtrak stations, and for failing to raise the platform to a level that was safe for passengers detraining.

The defendant is also accused of negligence for failing to properly train its employees to place the step-stool in a reasonably safe position on the train platform, failing to position its step-stool in a reasonably safe position, failing to use a step-stool that was reasonably safe and did not have a very smooth/slippery surface, failing to adequately test and/or inspect the train, platform or step-stool for hazards, and for failing to provide an alternative exit policy.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for physical pain and suffering, severe mental anguish, medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, interest, attorney’s fees, and court costs.

Morris is represented by C. Perrin Rome III, Blake G. Arata Jr. and W. Chad Stelly of Rome, Arata, Baxley & Stelly in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:13-cv-05574

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