PHILADELPHIA – A summer trial date awaits for a case involving a New Jersey train engineer who alleges Amtrak violated federal laws by not providing him with a safe work environment, when he suffered debilitating injuries in an accident sustained in the course of his employment.
Per a revised case management order issued by Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold L. New on Oct. 19, 2017, it directed that all pre-trial discovery and expert reports be submitted by May 7 and a settlement conference would be able to be scheduled subsequent to that same date (court records show one was completed on May 22.)
Finally, the order states that a pre-trial conference may be scheduled any time subsequent to July 2, and a currently-anticipated trial date is now in place of Aug. 6.
Bryan Hatzold of Mount Laurel, N.J. first filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on July 7, 2017 versus National Railroad Passenger Corporation of Philadelphia.
“On or about Feb. 1, 2016, plaintiff was in the usual and customary performance of his duties as a Locomotive Engineer working for defendant on Amtrak Train No. 653, operating from Philadelphia to Lancaster. At approximately 12:30 p.m. on the aforementioned date, the train to which plaintiff had been assigned by defendant arrived in Lancaster. When the train stopped, plaintiff attempted to exit the cab of the locomotive. As plaintiff attempted to open the door, however, the defective handle mechanism malfunctioned and jammed, and the door would not open. As plaintiff was required to exert extreme force on the door in an attempt to get it open, he suffered injuries to his right shoulder and collarbone,” the suit explained.
“Unbeknownst to plaintiff, the defective door handle on the locomotive to which he had been assigned by defendant had been poorly maintained and was in need of repair. Prior to plaintiff's injury on Feb. 1, 2016, defendant Amtrak had notice of previous complaints regarding the defective locomotive cab door, but had failed to take steps to repair or replace the defective door. The Feb. 1, 2016 incident caused severe and debilitating injuries to plaintiff's right shoulder and collarbone including, but not limited to a torn pectoral muscle and severe muscle strain, for which plaintiff has undergone active medical treatment, diagnostic testing, and physical therapy,” the suit stated.
According to the litigation, Amtrak was remiss in providing safe equipment, including but not limited to, a failure to provide locomotive cab doors equipped with “a secure and operable latching device”, plus numerous negligent failures to repair and replace the inoperable equipment and comply with associated government regulations, among other charges.
For violation of the Locomotive Inspection Act and the Federal Employers Liability Act, the plaintiff is seeking damages in an amount in excess of the statutory arbitration limits as compensatory damages, other such relief as the Court shall deem appropriate and just, plus a trial by jury in this matter.
The plaintiff is represented by Samuel Abloeser of Williams Cuker & Berezofsky in Philadelphia and C. Perrin Rome III of Rome Arata Baxley & Stelly, in New Orleans, La.
The defendant is represented by Yuri J. Brunetti and Alexis Grose of Landman Corsi Ballaine & Ford, also in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170700507
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at email@example.com