Silsbee man cites FELA, sues railroad

David Yates May 9, 2007, 9:00am

Steve Young

James Smart, a Silsbee resident, has filed a lawsuit with the Jefferson County District Court against the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co., a Delaware based Company.

Smart injured his knee while attempting to get off a locomotive. He is invoking the Federal Employers' Liability Act.

According to William Douglas, former U.S. Supreme Court justice, "FELA was designed to put on the railroad industry some of the costs of the legs, arms, eyes, and lives which it consumed in its operation."

"Not all these costs were imposed, for the act did not make the employer an insurer. The liability which it imposed was the liability for negligence," he added.

According to Smart's petition, filed May 4, he maintained various tracks for BNSF Railway.

Because of the negligence of defendant, plaintiff injured his knee while exiting the locomotive on Dec. 18, 2006, the suit said.

The suit does not state how BNSF Railway was negligent, just that the company was.

Smart is suing for physical pain and suffering in the past and future, mental anguish in the past and future, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, physical impairment in the past and future, and past and future medical expenses.

He is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by the Tavormina & Young law firm.

Court assignment is pending.

Case No. D179-244

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