Fulcher Attorneys Win Four Day FELA Trial

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Fulcher Hagler attorneys Mike Loebl and Beth McLeod recently won a defense verdict in favor of a Class I railroad sued by one of its employees under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. The four day trial took place in Gwinnett County. The plaintiff was represented by a well-known and highly regarded FELA plaintiffs’ firm.

The Plaintiff in the case, an engineer with several years’ employment as both a conductor and engineer, sustained an alleged injury to his head, neck and upper back while climbing into a “carryall” during the late evening hours. At the time of the alleged injury, the carryall was located in a rail yard just outside the crew room building and was preparing to transport the train crew—consisting of the engineer and a conductor—to an awaiting train located a few minutes’ drive from the crew room building. Plaintiff struck his head on the carryall and, in connection with the lawsuit filed against the railroad, alleged numerous claims of negligence against the railroad. Plaintiff claimed that the light in the carryall was not working; the carryall used to transport the crew was defective; the seat Plaintiff was attempting to board at the time of his purported injury had been pushed forward and the seat in front of that seat had been pushed back; that the railroad failed to train and supervise its employees; and that Plaintiff had not been sufficiently warned of the hazards present. Plaintiff alleged that he sustained past, present, and future mental and physical pain and suffering; loss of earnings for the approximate 15 months he was purportedly disabled; lost future earnings and benefits and loss of earning capacity; and unpaid medical expenses. At trial, Plaintiff supported his case with the testimony of two treating physicians, including a pain management specialist who had previously opined on multiple occasions that Plaintiff would never be capable of returning to his job as a train engineer.

At trial, the defense contended the Plaintiff was at fault in causing any injury he sustained and that the incident would not have occurred had Plaintiff paid sufficient attention to his surrounding environment. After less than an hour of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the railroad.