The true test of a dedicated personal injury firm is its willingness to go to trial on a difficult case, one the other side believes is a winner for it, and still prevail against the odds. James L. Farina
Hoey & Farina is proud to report its FELA lawyers has obtained a $1,271,500.00 verdict ($2,543,000.00 reduced by 50% for contributory negligence) on April 27, 2012, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, on behalf of Angelo Mascheri, a former Metra coach cleaner. The trial in this matter under the Federal Employers' Liability Act ("FELA") began on April 19, 2012 and concluded with the jury's FELA verdict on April 27, 2012.
FAILED TO PROVIDE A SAFE WORKPLACE
On May 23, 2005, Mr. Mascheri was seriously injured at work when transferring garbage bags from a cart to a dumpster at the Metra Joliet Coach Yard.
Prior to Mr. Mascheri's 2005 on-duty injury, in 2003, he suffered a torn rotator cuff performing the same transfer maneuver. Metra investigated the cause of that 2003 work injury and found the established method of performing the work was not safe. Metra, however, failed to take any preventative measures to protect Mr. Mascheri, and its Chief Medical Officer released Mr. Mascheri to return to the same task.
The railroad's negligent assignment in failing to provide a safe work place after the 2003 injury to Mr. Mascheri was a basis for his lawsuit against Metra under the FELA.
At trial, Metra claimed that Mr. Mascheri injured his back months before while on vacation at the Chicago Cubs' spring training complex in Arizona. Mr. Mascheri family doctor testified at trial that the Arizona incident was a minor back sprain, while the May 23, 2005, incident at work caused a large herniated disc which required Mr. Mascheri to undergo a posterior laminectomy internal fixation surgery ("PLIF"). The surgery failed. Mr. Mascheri then participated in a pain management program where he underwent a series of injections and a spinal stimulator implant. Mr. Mascheri was unable to return to work as a result of his work injury.
NO INJURY REPORT / DISPUTED WORK INJURY
Metra also claimed that Mr. Mascheri failed to report the accident and introduced an absenteeism form at trial showing Mascheri absent from work for "not work related" back injury. However, Mr. Mascheri had immediately faxed his doctor's notes to Metra after the initial diagnosis of his back injury. In response, Metra replied in a letter to Mr. Mascheri informing him that he was on disability status due to an "on-duty injury."
INJURED EMPLOYEE DESERVES "NOT ONE RED CENT"
In Mr. Mascheri's case, Metra made no settlement offers prior to trial. The railroad was unwilling to offer a single penny! Moreover, in its closing argument, Metra's lawyer urged the jury not to give Mr. Mascheri "one red cent."
THE RIGHT CALL
The jury deliberated for two and a half (2 1/2) hours and awarded Mr. Mascheri $1,271,500.00.
We believe, that by its verdict, the jury recognized Metra's attempt to 'railroad' Mr. Mascheri. The jury, instead, agreed with Mr. Mascheri and his treating doctors that the May 23, 2005, railroad work injury was the cause of his spinal injury.
Because railroads try to prevent injured workers from pursuing their rights under the FELA, Mr. Mascheri recognized that he needed help to recover for his on-duty injury and called Hoey & Farina.