Rail yard incident leads to foot amputation, lawsuit for $2.5M

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau May 13, 2010, 6:51am

A rail yard worker is suing his employers for $2.5 million, claiming a tank car had bad brakes and ran over his foot.

Working as part of a switch crew for Rescar, Terry Carter's job involved uncoupling railroad cars and then hooking up air brakes and setting brakes on the cars.

On May 7, 2008, Carter claims he was attempting to set the brakes on a tank car and followed standard procedure.

According to court papers, when he thought the car could not move because the brakes were set, he told the operator to pull the string out.

However, Carter claims the brakes on the railcar were not operating and the tank car ran over his foot, causing a traumatic amputation to a portion of his right foot.

Under the provisions of the Federal Employees' Liability Act, Carter filed suit against Union Pacific Railroad Co. and Rescar Inc. on May 7 in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Carter argues that cars with brake problems normally are placarded or have a written notice showing that the car may have, or has, bad brakes. The tank car at issue did not have any notice of the bad brakes, the lawsuit states.

The plaintiff accuses the defendants of negligently failing to inspect the car, failing to adequately train him and his crew, failing to mark the car with defective brakes, and failing to provide adequate warning that the brakes on the car were defective.

Carter is seeking more than $2.5 million in damages for loss of earning capacity, medical expenses, physical impairment, significant pain and suffering, mental anguish and for interest and court costs

Beaumont attorney Steven C. Barkley is representing the plaintiff.

U.S. District Judge Ron Clark is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:10-cv-00265

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