Loose ballast blamed for rail worker's injuries

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 8, 2011, 5:11pm

GALVESTON - Cleveland Woods filed a personal injury lawsuit against his employer, Union Pacific Railroad Co., after a fall last year, recent court documents say.

In a federal lawsuit filed July 22 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, Woods claims that a "loose and uneven" ballast on one of the trains he was working on caused him to lose his footing, fall and hurt his knee and back.

The original petition shows that on Feb. 18, 2010, the plaintiff, an engineer, was stopped on the mainline in Navasota.

He was checking the fuel readings on three locomotives when the ballast gave way.

"Mr. Woods fell forward onto his face, resulting in bodily injury to his knee and back," the suit says.

Woods claims he has undergone multiple surgeries for a lumbar back fusion and has received steroid injections in his knees.

"The plaintiff is unaware of any weaknesses or infirmities that were present before his injury, but if any were present, the defendant's negligence caused them to be activated by the trauma to the plaintiff's body," the suit says.

Consequently, Woods seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

He is represented by attorney Robert M. Tramuto of Houston.

The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt.

Case No. 3:11-cv-350

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