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St. Petersburg, Florida

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Rail Worker Crushed When Rail Car Falls Off Its Jacks

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The Grand Rapids Press carries the story of a seriously injured rail worker who was a awarded over $1 Million in damages against CSX Railroad.

Rail worker receives $1.1 million verdict

GRAND RAPIDS — With 24 years in at CSX Railroad in Grand Rapids, Reginald Booker planned to finish his career as a carman there.

Instead, he found himself fighting the company after he was nearly crushed underneath a rail car in an accident that left him with a severe disability in September 2003.

Booker, 55, gained some satisfaction this week after a federal jury awarded him nearly $1.1 million in civil damages against CSX, a judgment his attorney described as important in this conservative region.

Booker’s job was to inspect and repair rail cars at the CSX Wyoming yard. He suffered nerve, vertebrae and pelvis injuries and can no longer work.

A jury Thursday in U.S. District Court awarded a $1.4 million judgment, but reduced it by 25 percent to $1.07 million because of “contributory negligence” on Booker’s part.

The end of a lifetime of work for CSX Railroad came when a hopper car — used to haul grain and granular materials — fell off its jacks. Booker walks with a cane and a limp today as a result of the accident.