BECKLEY – A couple has filed a suit against Hulcher Services, alleging the man was injured while performing railroad work for the company.

Clayton and Kimberly Collins claim Clayton Collins was working near Pineville in Wyoming County on Feb. 21, 2007, near a coal mining facility when the tractor trailer his immediate supervisor was operating became stuck in the mud.

In order to dislodge the truck from the mud, Clayton Collins' supervisor ordered him to use an endloader, according to the complaint originally filed Dec. 30 in Wyoming Circuit Court.

However, the endloader caused the truck to be shoved into a concrete barrier, which resulted in a tire blowout, the suit states.

Clayton Collins was ordered to remove the blown tire, he claims.

To perform the task, Collins was required to loosen and remove lug nuts holding the tire to the truck, according to the complaint.

But the lug nuts had been placed on the vehicle too tightly, so an extension bar had to be used to remove them, the suit states.

As Clayton Collins was attempting to remove the lug nuts with the extension bar, he claims he sustained a herniated disc in his lower back.

Although Hulcher Services admits Clayton Collins was working for it on Feb. 21, 2007, it claims it does not have sufficient information to confirm whether the incident occurred.

The company contends it is not responsible for Clayton Collins' injury.

"The damages of which Plaintiff complains were not caused in any way by any wrongful or other acts of the Defendant; rather, they were caused, if at all, by the wrongful conduct of others," the suit states. "The Defendant asserts that others were responsible for any alleged unsafe conditions which may have proximately caused the accident, and that others are responsible for any alleged damages."

Because of Clayton Collins' injury, his wife, Kimberly Collins, has been denied his services, support and consortium, according to the complaint.

His injury should never have occurred, though, because company policy requires a tire repair contractor be dispatched to the scene of a blown tire, according to the complaint.

In the two-count suit, the Collins are seeking a judgment in an amount adequate to compensate him for his injuries and damages, plus interest and costs.

Hulcher Services removed the complaint to federal court.

Larry O. Ford of Meyer, Ford and Glasser in Charleston will be representing the Collins.

Charles R. Bailey and Robert L. McKinney of Bailey and Wyant in Charleston will be representing Hulcher Services.

U.S. District Court case number: 5:09-0118

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