Conrail denies violating FELA in former machinist's personal injury lawsuit

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 18, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – Counsel for Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) assert the company did not forgo its responsibilities under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) and did provide a plaintiff with a safe work environment over the course of his 39-year career, despite his allegations to the contrary.

In a response to plaintiff John Grybowski’s complaint filed April 26, Amy E. Farris denied Grybowski’s claims on behalf of Conrail, and further argued his complaint was barred by: The applicable statute of limitations, the doctrine of preclusion under the Federal Railway Safety Act, Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, Safety Appliance Act and the Railway Labor Act, failed to state a proper claim under FELA and that his health issues were the result of pre-existing medical conditions, for which Conrail bore no liability.

Farris is seeking the dismissal of Grybowki’s complaint through judgment in the defense’s favor with prejudice, in addition to any relief the Court deems just and proper.

Grybowski’s counsel refuted this opposition in documents filed on May 2.

Grybowski of Lancaster, N.Y. initially filed suit on Jan. 23 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, against Consolidated Rail (Conrail) Corporation in Philadelphia and CSX Transportation, Inc. of Jacksonville, Fla.

“On April 1, 1976, plaintiff [John] Grybowski started working as a Conrail mechanic and machinist, and worked for Conrail until on or about May 31, 1999,” the suit says. “On or about May 31, 1999, plaintiff [John] Grybowski started working for CSX as a mechanic and machinist, and worked in that capacity for CSX until on or about June 1, 2015.”

The plaintiff says in the course of his employment duties, the defendants overexposed the plaintiff to musculoskeletal stressors including awkward postures and repetitive heavy lifting, such that he developed occupationally-induced musculoskeletal injuries and disease to his bilateral shoulders (rotator cuff tears), cervical spine and lumbar spine.

The plaintiff adds the defendants failed to provide him with a safe work environment, appropriate equipment, adequate supervision, tools and manpower.

The plaintiff is seeking damages, jointly and severally, in excess of the court’s jurisdictional minimum, plus costs and other remedies at law in equity.

The plaintiff is represented by David L. Lockard of David L. Lockard & Associates, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Farris, Sharon L. Caffrey and Alyson W. Lotman of Duane Morris, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170102982

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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