SEPTA mechanic claims agency reneged on promise to arbitrate injury claim

By Jon Campisi | Aug 13, 2013

A mass transit mechanic who says he was injured in late 2009 while performing a rail

A mass transit mechanic who says he was injured in late 2009 while performing a rail

vehicle inspection claims in a civil filing that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority reneged on its promise to arbitrate the matter.

Philadelphia resident Antoine Clark is suing SEPTA over allegations that the agency failed to abide by an arbitration agreement arising from an Oct. 24, 2009 incident in which Clark claims he suffered an on-the-job shoulder injury.

In April 2011, the suit states, SEPTA presented an agreement to arbitrate, which Clark signed soon after.

The move would toll the statute of limitations on the injury claim.

The transit agency, however, took nearly a year to sign the agreement, the record shows.

Arbitration was originally scheduled to take place in November and December 2012, as well as in February, March, May and August of this year, the complaint states, but SEPTA allegedly kept seeking continuances, which were granted each time.

Late last month, SEPTA breached the agreement by informing Clark that the agency would no longer agree to arbitrate the matter, according to the complaint, which was filed on Aug. 9 at U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

Clark now brings his claims in civil court, accusing SEPTA of negligence for failing to provide the plaintiff with a safe place to work, failing to provide Clark with non-defective equipment, failing to warn of the existence of a dangerous condition, and failing to make corrections to the dangerous condition.

As for Clark, the plaintiff has been informed by his doctors that his shoulder injuries may be permanent in nature, although specifics with regard to the alleged long-term damage was not spelled out in the lawsuit.

Clark also claims he has suffered physical pain and mental anguish and that he has suffered earnings losses and financial losses due to his medical expenses.

SEPTA is accused of violating the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.

Clark seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

He is being represented by attorney James M. Duckworth of the firm Keller & Goggin P.C.

The federal case number is 2:13-cv-04640-MAM.

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