CHARLESTON – Two lawsuits were filed against Norfolk Southern Railway Company for a crash caused by one of its employees that caused injuries.
James Lanigan and Austyn S. Hughett, who are both employed by Tie Bandits Company as laborers, were working when a collision occurred when Franklin E. Salmons Jr., a Norfolk employee, collided with another machine ahead of him, which caused the plaintiffs severe and permanent injuries, according to a complaint filed in Mingo Circuit Court and removed to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on Sept. 17.
Salmons was employed by Norfolk in the Track and Engineering Department to operate a ballast regulator. The brakes malfunctioned on the regulator, causing it to collide with the machine in front of it, the lawsuits said.
The plaintiffs said their injuries were due to Norfolk's carelessness and negligence in failing to inspect the vehicle and its brakes and failing to repair the defective parts.
Each of the plaintiffs suffered great pain and mental anguish, including injuries to their backs, necks, spines, right legs and bodies, according to the suits.
Each of the plaintiffs is seeking $2 million in damages for his future earning capacities for a total of $4 million. They are represented by Benjamin T. Tobin of Pratt & Tobin in East Alton, Ill.
Norfolk Southern filed notices of removal in both cases, citing that the amount in controversy exceeds the state court limit, as well as a diversity of citizenship, as Hughett is a resident of Kentucky and Norfolk's base of operations is in Virginia.
Norfolk is represented by J.H. Mahaney and Ellen M. Jones of Dinsmore & Shohl in Huntington.
Senior U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. ordered that all motions, together with supporting briefs, memoranda, affidavits or other material, should be filed by Oct. 10 and that the last day for a Rule 26(f) meeting is Oct. 21. He also ordered that the last day to file a report of the parties' planning meeting was Oct. 28, according to the order and notice filed Sept. 20 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
A scheduling conference is set for Nov. 1.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case Nos. 2:19-cv-00668, 2:19-cv-00669