Conductor says Norfolk failed to provide safe workplace

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 18, 2015

CHARLESTON – A conductor is suing Norfolk Southern Railway Company after he was injured during the course of his job.


CHARLESTON – A conductor is suing Norfolk Southern Railway Company after he was injured during the course of his job.


Poca Blending LLC; Freedom Industries, which was doing business as Poca Blending; and Lexycon LLC were also named as defendants in the suit.


On Dec. 16, 2013, Charles Landers sustained serious injuries while working for Norfolk as a conductor at Poca's plant site and property, according to a complaint filed Feb. 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.


Landers claims one of his duties was to "protect the shove" by riding the lead car as the train crew shoved into the plant site and to prevent unwanted or runaway trains from traveling to the plant site, a derail is placed on the track which will derail and stop train car movement.


Prior to entering the plant site, the train crew was informed that the derail was off, thereby allowing the train to travel over the tracks safely and onto the plant site, however, the derail was actually on and when the car Landers was riding in came into contact with the derail, it left eh tracks and caused him injuries, according to the suit.


Landers claims the Norfolk crewmember whose duty it was to walk ahead of the train and confirm the "off" position of the derail also failed to inspect the track, notice the derail and protect the equipment and the plaintiff.


As a result of the defendants' negligence, the trail derailed and Landers sustained serious and permanent injuries and damages, according to the suit.


Landers claims the defendants had a duty under FELA to provide him with a reasonably safe place to work and failed to do so.


As the property owner and facility operator, Poca had a duty to inspect the track and to warn Landers of dangers and to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition.


Landers claims he suffered permanent physical impairment; surgical procedures; lost wages; lost fringe benefits; medical bills and expenses; and pain, suffering and mental anguish.


Landers is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Bert Ketchum of Greene, Ketchum, Farrell, Bailey & Tweel.


The case is assigned to District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr.


U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 2:15-cv-01410

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