Forklift operator sues after being hit by train

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jul. 30, 2012, 5:15am

MARSHALL - A worker that was hit by a train while he was operating a forklift has filed a lawsuit against Union Pacific for failing to exercise ordinary care.

Ivan Lopez and Margarita Lopez filed suit against Union Pacific Railroad Co. on July 19 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

Ivan Lopez claims that he suffered serious injuries on March 13 when he was hit by a Union Pacific train.

At the time of the accident, Lopez was employed by Norris Cylinder Co., which produces industrial gas cylinders. As part of the production processes, Norris uses steel that is delivered on railroad cars. Lopez was operating a forklift to move cross ties from the ground and load them into a roll off container.

Although the Union Pacific train stopped short of where Lopez was working, the train engineer began "shoving the railcars through the gate onto Norris Cylinder's premises."

One of the train cars hit Lopez's forklift, causing it to spin around and flip. Lopez was pinned under the edge of the rail car and was injured, according to the complaint.

Union Pacific is accused of negligence and negligence per se for failing to exercise ordinary care. The defendant is also accused of failing to comply with the provisions of the Federal Railroad Administrations Railroad Operating Rules safety standards.

The lawsuit is seeking damages for physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses, physical impairment, disfigurement, lost earnings, loss of household services, loss of consortium, interest and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Bruce A. Smith, T. John Ward Jr., and Thomas W. Reardon Jr. of Ward & Smith Law Firm in Longview.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00410

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