May trial slated in railroad worker’s suit alleging excessive punishment for sleeping while on the job

David Yates Jan. 21, 2015, 4:02pm


A May trial has been slated in a suit brought by a railroad worker, who also suffers from alcohol dependency, claiming he was subjected to extreme punishment after he fell asleep while working.

On July 21 Curtis R. Radick filed a suit against Union Pacific Railroad in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.

Court records show on Nov. 5 a scheduling order was entered the case, calling the litigation to trial on May 29.

Radick claims Union Pacific discriminated against him on the basis of his disability – alcohol dependence, which he claims was in remission.

In his suit, Radick says he was working for Union Pacific as an electrician July 7, 2013, when he was observed sleeping during his third shift in La Porte. After Radick passed a breath test and urinalysis the same day, he was placed on 60 days probation.

The director of Houston’s locomotive facility wanted to place Radick on a termination pending investigation, claiming Radick had brought personal items for sleeping, plus had utilized company assets and utilities to facilitate an indifference to duty.

The suit says Radick’s union fought for him and was able to negotiate an agreement in which he was placed on 18 months of probation, no road truck position for 18 months and restriction to the Houston Diesel Shop.

Radick claims he was denied his job position, even after a doctor cleared him to return to work and suffered lost overtime. He also suffered mental anguish and emotional distress and humiliation, according to the complaint. He lost his enjoyment of life, wages and benefits, the suit states.

Conversely, UPR asserts Radick failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to bringing suit and his claims are barred by the statute of limitations, according to UPR’s amended answer, filed Nov. 11.

Radick is seeking a declaration that Union Pacific’s conduct was in violation of his rights. He also seeks back pay, compensatory damages, special and nominal damages, costs, attorneys’ fees and other relief the court deems just.

Attorney Keith Lovelace of the Law Offices of Keith Lovelace in Houston is representing him.

UPR is represented by Linda Schoonmaker, attorney for the Houston law firm Seyfarth Shaw.

Case No. 4:14-cv-02075

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