BNSF to argue for summary judgment in FELA suit

By David Yates | Mar 31, 2009

In June 2007, the Record reported on a Federal Employers Liability Act suit filed by BNSF Railway Co. employee Eldwin Garrett, who injured himself while installing an end-of-train device for the railroad.

Nearly two years later, BNSF is arguing for summary judgment, asserting the suit should not have been filed under FELA. A hearing on the matter was slated for April 1 but was reset for a later date, according to a courthouse employee.

Garrett filed his personal injury lawsuit in Jefferson County District Court on May 31, 2007. Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, is presiding over the case.

According to the plaintiff's petition, on Nov. 11, 2006, Garret was injured while in the process of installing an end-of-train device on a train in Dayton, Texas.

"The injuries to plaintiff were due in whole or in part to the negligence of defendant, its agents, servants or employees acting in the course and scope of their employment," the suit said. "Defendant failed to provide plaintiff with a reasonably safe place to work."

Garrett claims he suffered injuries to his head, neck and shoulders, and other parts of his body. However, the suit does not specify how he injured himself or the direct acts of negligence allegedly committed by BNSF Railway.

The suit says the incident caused Garrett to suffer "physical and mental pain…and, in all reasonable probability, will continue to suffer in this manner for a long time into the future. The injuries have had a serious effect on plaintiff's health and well being."

Garrett is suing for past and future medical expenses and impairment.

He is represented by Friendswood attorney Sara L. Youngdahl of the Youngdahl Law Firm.

BNSF is represented in part by attorney Douglas Poole.

Case No. E179-407

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