Train's broken seat caused fall, spinal injury, engineer claimed
|Negligent Assembly or Installation, Workplace - Workplace Safety, Slips, Trips & Falls - Falldown|
|William T. Nasca v. CSX Transportation, Inc., No. 2780/05|
|Erie Supreme, NY|
|Patrick H. NeMoyer
- John F. Collins; Collins & Collins, P.C.; Buffalo, NY, for William T. Nasca
- Patrick J. Donoghue; John J. Fromen, Attorneys at Law, PC; Buffalo, NY, for William T. Nasca
- James Lewis; Transportation Regulations; Buffalo, NY called by: John Collins, Patrick Donoghue
- Edward Simmons; Orthopedic Surgery; Buffalo, NY called by: John Collins, Patrick Donoghue
- Michael McLaughlin; Anspach Meeks Ellenberger LLP; Buffalo, NY, for CSX Transportation Inc.
- David M. Stillwell; Anspach Meeks Ellenberger LLP; Buffalo, NY, for CSX Transportation Inc.
On April 17, 2002, plaintiff William Nasca, 43, a locomotive engineer, boarded a locomotive that was parked in the CSX Transportation Inc. rail yard that is located in Selkirk. He sat in the engineer's seat and began to adjust the seat's height. The seat cushion fell off of the supporting pedestal, and Nasca fell onto the floor of the train. He claimed that he sustained an injury of his neck.
Nasca sued CSX Transportation Inc. He alleged that CSX Transportation was negligent in its installation and maintenance of the seat. He further alleged that CSX Transportation's negligence constituted a violation of the Federal Employers' Liability Act.
Plaintiff's counsel noted that Code of Federal Regulations title 49, subtitle B, chapter II, part 229 specifies that railroads may not utilize train seats that are not securely mounted and braced. He also noted that comparative negligence cannot be assessed in cases in which the code is found to have been violated. He further noted that the Locomotion Inspection Act specifies that a locomotive may not be used unless its parts and appurtenances are in proper condition and safe to operate.
Defense counsel contended that the locomotive had been removed from use and that, as such, the Code of Federal Regulations was inapplicable. However, plaintiff's counsel contended that Nasca had been directed to use the locomotive, that the locomotive had not been moved to a repair track and that a train conductor agreed that the locomotive and its train were in use. Judge Patrick NeMoyer directed a verdict that established that the locomotive was in use when the accident occurred, and defense counsel resultantly conceded that the locomotive's condition constituted a violation of the Locomotion Inspection Act. The trial proceeded to damages.
Nasca did not seek immediate medical treatment. He delivered the train to its destination, in Buffalo, and a co-worker transported him to Sisters of Charity Hospital's St. Joseph Campus, in Cheektowaga. He underwent minor treatment.
Nasca ultimately claimed that he sustained a herniation of his C4-5 intervertebral disc. He underwent several months of physical therapy, but he contended that he suffers residual pain and limitations that hinder his performance of his everyday activities.
Nasca sought recovery of $150,000 for his past pain and suffering and $150,000 for his future pain and suffering.
Defense counsel noted that Nasca has worked continuously since the accident, and, as such, they argued that Nasca did not sustain a serious injury.
The jury found that Nasca's damages totaled $300,000.
William T. Nasca
$150,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering
$150,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering
This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.