A Ouachita Parish citizen is suing his employer, a major railroad company, alleging liability for damages in a recent workplace accident which the plaintiff claims was entirely avoidable.

Terrell Johnson sued Union Pacific Railroad Co. in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana on Aug. 17 alleging infringement of the Federal Employer’s Liability Act in April.

According to the complaint, Union Pacific assigned Johnson to track maintenance work near Chickasha, Okla., on or about April 14. The suit states that the defendant’s personnel ordered the plaintiff to install wooden crossties manually on the track structure in lieu of mechanical equipment and machinery such as a backhoe, “speed swing” and jackhammer.

The lawsuit states that Johnson sustained severe neck, spine, shoulder and elbow injuries when he attempted to comply. The plaintiff claims that UP was in violation of FELA when it required him to struggle with equipment “weighing hundreds if not a thousand pounds with nothing more than a lining bar and spike hammer.”

According to the suit, the defendant failed to provide a safe workplace, tools, assistance, or readily available equipment. Johnson avers that he required surgery for a herniated disc, suffered physical and mental pain, lost wages and benefits, and incurred unpaid medical expenses.

Requesting compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys' fees, expenses, and court costs, the plaintiff is represented by Joseph Miller, Benjamin Saunders and Carisa German-Oden of Davis, Saunders, Miller & Oden in Mandeville.

U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana case number 2:15-cv-03558-SM-KWR

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