Two slips equal one suit

David Yates Nov. 7, 2007, 5:59am

A Kansas City Southern Railway employee is suing the railroad over two separate slip-and-fall incidents. Robert Vail twisted his leg once while exiting a locomotive, then again while setting a hand brake on a rail car.

Vail claims KCS failed to provide him with a safe place to work. Citing the Federal Employers' Liability Act, Vail filed his suit in the Jefferson County District Court on Nov. 5.

According to the suit, on Oct. 1, 2006, Vail was working for KCS when he slipped and tripped, twisting his leg while "walking down some steps when exiting the defendant's locomotive."

The second slip and fall occurred a few weeks later on Oct. 20, 2006. Vail twisted his leg while attempting "to set a hand brake on the defendant's rail car. To the extent that Mr. Vail suffered from a pre-existing condition, the injury of Oct. 20, 2006, aggravated and exacerbated his condition and made it significantly worse."

Vail claims his injuries were due to KCS's negligence. The suit lists the following acts of negligence:
- Defendant KCS failed to provide Plaintiff with a safe place to work;
- Failed to provide proper lighting; failed to safely inspect, repair, and maintain;
- Failed to warn Mr. Vail;
- Failed to establish and enforce proper safety procedures;
- Failed to follow applicable rules, regulations, codes and industry standards;
- And failed to properly instruct, supervise and train.

"Plaintiff's injuries and/or aggravation, as set out above, was due in whole or in part, to defendant's violation of federal statutes and regulations," the suit said. "Specifically, the locomotive and rail car in question were not in compliance with the Locomotive Inspection Act and the Safety Appliance Act."

Vail is suing for physical pain, suffering, mental anguish, lost earnings impairment and disfigurement in the past and future.

He is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by attorney Bristol Baxley of the Rome, Arata & Baxley law firm in Pearland.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. D180-707

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