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Myles v. Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 14, 2015

CHARLES MYLES, Plaintiff,
v.
NORTHEAST ILLINOIS REGIONAL COMMUTER RAIL CORP., d/b/a METRA, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JORGE L. ALONSO, District Judge.

Plaintiff sues Metra for its alleged violations of the Federal Employers' Liability Act ("FELA") and the Federal Railroad Safety Act ("FRSA"). The case is before the Court on defendant's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is denied.

Facts

In May 1989, Metra hired plaintiff as a carman, and since 1995 he has worked exclusively at Metra's Western Avenue location. (Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) Stmt. ¶¶ 7-8.) As a carman, plaintiff's duties included "changing out windows, couplers, doors, brake shoes, hoses, and valves, repairing seats and windows, pulling cables and other tasks." ( Id. ¶ 9.)

In 2005, plaintiff began working in the car wash track area at Western Avenue. ( Id. ¶ 10.) One of his duties there was to drag a hose outside of the car wash area to pump water out of it. ( Id. ¶ 14.) When he performed that task, plaintiff would walk out of an overhead door on the west side of Track 1 and drag the hose to a rock/ballast area about ten feet away from the overhead door. ( Id. ¶ 15.) There is an awning above the overhead door. ( Id. ¶ 17.)

On February 8, 2010, there was a snow storm that produced 12.6 inches of snow. (Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 2.)

At 7:30 a.m. on February 9, 2010, plaintiff opened the overhead door on Track 1 and did not see any snow fall from the awning over it. (Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) Stmt. ¶¶ 20, 22.) Sometime between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m., when plaintiff was dragging a hose out through the overhead door, snow fell from the awning, hit plaintiff and knocked him to the ground. ( Id. ¶¶ 21, 26.) Before this incident, neither plaintiff, nor anyone else as far as plaintiff knows, had complained to Metra management about snow falling from the awning. ( Id. ¶¶ 31-32.)

Metra's safety rules, a copy of which plaintiff received when he started to work for Metra, require the "[r]emov[al] [of] ice and snow buildup from above doorways, walkways, and other places where it could fall and injure someone." ( Id. ¶ 36; id., Ex. B, Metra Safety Rules § 100.9.2.) They also state that "all cases of personal injury, while on duty, or on company property must be promptly reported to the proper officer and prescribed form completed before the end of duty and before leaving company property." (Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) Stmt. ¶ 37.) If an employee fails to timely report an injury, "they are always subject to an investigation." ( Id. ¶ 35.) In accordance with the rule, plaintiff immediately reported the February 9 incident to his supervisor and completed an injury report. ( Id. ¶¶ 40-41.)

After receiving medical treatment, plaintiff returned to full-duty work as a carman on June 28, 2010. ( Id. ¶ 42.)

On Thursday, October 28, 2010, plaintiff's supervisor assigned plaintiff the task of changing adaptors, which put "a lot of stress on [plaintiff's] back." ( Id. ¶¶ 43, 47.) After doing that work, plaintiff said his back hurt "ten fold." ( Id. ¶ 48.) However, he did not report an injury or fill out an injury report on October 28, 2010. ( Id. ¶ 49.)

On Friday, October 29, 2010, plaintiff worked a full day as a carman and did not report an injury or fill out an injury report. ( Id. ¶ 50.) However, plaintiff called his doctor and made an appointment for November 1, 2010. ( Id. ¶ 53.)

On Monday, November 1, 2010, plaintiff told Metra his back hurt and he would not be coming to work because he was going to see his doctor. ( Id. ¶ 54.) The next day, plaintiff reported the injury to Metra. (Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 20.)

On November 10, 2010, plaintiff received a letter from Metra instructing him to attend a disciplinary hearing on November 17, 2010 regarding his late injury report. (Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) ...


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