Train engineer who alleged Amtrak violated FELA settles case

By Nicholas Malfitano | Sep 7, 2018


PHILADELPHIA – A New Jersey train engineer who claimed Amtrak violated federal laws by not providing him with a safe work environment before he was injured has settled with the transportation company, according to court records.

Per a praecipe filed by plaintiff counsel Samuel Abloeser on July 16, it requested the court consider the instant litigation as settled, discontinued and ended. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

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 lawsuit, Amtrak was remiss in providing safe equipment, including 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.

Prior to settlement and for violation of the Locomotive Inspection Act and the Federal Employers Liability Act, the plaintiff was 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 was represented by Samuel Abloeser of Williams Cedar in Philadelphia and C. Perrin Rome III of Rome Arata Baxley & Stelly, in New Orleans, La.

The defendant was 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

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Amtrak Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas

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