Jury Trial Set For April 1 in Pike County Courthouse
By Ethan Colbert
A four-day jury trial has been scheduled in the case of three Louisiana residents who filed a lawsuit against Kansas City Southern Railroad.
According to electronic court records, jury selection in this case is set to begin on April 1, in the Pike County Courthouse. Judge Thomas Frawley, who served as circuit court judge during the suspension of former Circuit Court Judge Chris Kunza-Mennemeyer, will continue to hear the case and oversee the jury trial.
As was previously reported by the Times, Marvin Burse, Heather Burse, and Nicole Ivey Farris, all of Louisiana, were injured in February 2014 after a locomotive collided with the vehicle driven by Marvin Burse.
According to court records, the trio are claiming that the railroad and its conductor were negligent on three counts.
The first count of negligence contends that the company should be held responsible for: failure to have a crossing gate or warning lights at the crossing of Sonocco Drive; allowed its licensees to store and shunt rolling stock on the multiple rail lines adjacent to the defendant’s lines, which blocked the view of the approaching through trains; and failed to keep the railway crossing tree of snow and ice, and as a result crossing vehicles could become stuck and their drives unable to extricate themselves in an event of an approaching train.”
The second count alleges that the conductor of the Kansas City Southern locomotive was a trainee engineer and a trainee conductor, both of which were acting without supervision of certified personnel.
The third count alleges that the train was being driven at a high rate of speed throughout the City of Louisiana on the day of the accident.
The third count states that the conductor of the train failed to activate the train’s emergency brake when he saw a car was stuck in the railway crossing. He also allegedly failed to use the train’s bell and horn system to warn motorists to exit their vehicle.
According to attorneys representing the trio, it was a combination of these factors that led to a vehicle belonging to the Burse couple being struck by a locomotive.
In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that their injuries ranged from their “heads, necks, noses, nasal cavities, spines, arms, legs, and backs, and all of the bones, muscles, tendons, tissues, joints, ligaments, vessels, nerves, central nervous systems, organs and other soft tissues were severely wrenched, twisted, torn, impacted and otherwise damaged.”
The lawsuit also says that both Marvin Burse and Nicole Farris have been unable to sustain employment because of their injuries.
According to court documents, the three residents are asking the court to find in their favor and to award compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages and lost future wages.