Christopher Wardwell was employed by the defendant, Union Pacific Railroad Co., as a switchman and conductor. On Aug. 9, 2008, Wardwell was riding in a railroad van, going from a railway yard to a train in East St. Louis, Ill., driven by the railroad’s agent, Regina Goodwin.
The van was rear-ended by Erin Behnken’s vehicle. Wardwell suffered a severe back injury and can no longer perform his duties at work. He is now employed by the railroad as a security guard at significantly reduced wages.
Wardwell filed suit under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C. 51, alleging that Goodwin had negligently cut in front of Behnken’s vehicle and that Goodwin’s negligence caused the accident.