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Man who jumped to avoid enormous wheels to get $300K+ from Norfolk Southern

Raymond Riddick sued after he was hurt at the company's rail yard in 2019. He was injured trying to get out of the way of train wheels that employees were loading.

NORFOLK, Va. — A federal jury said that Norfolk Southern has to pay a man $303,920 for injuries he received while he was at the transportation company's rail yard in Norfolk in 2019.

Raymond Reddick, who worked for UPS as a driver, was hurt on May 30, 2019.

Riddick and his lawyer, John Cooper, said that Riddick arrived at the rail yard to pick up sets of large wheels for trains, with the sets weighing approximately 3,500 pounds. While Norfolk Southern employees were loading the wheel sets onto Riddick's trailer, one of the sets fell towards Riddick who jumped out of its way. Riddick fell of the trailer. The impact caused nerve damage to his elbow.

“He had to have surgery and all that," Cooper said Thursday, three days after the civil trial in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia started.

"The real thing that was scary here was he almost was killed because this is a giant object coming right at him," Cooper said. 

Although Norfolk Southern's lawyers said Riddick had some fault when it came to how the wheel sets were loaded, Cooper and his team maintained that the company and its employees were responsible for what happened to Riddick.

Cooper initially asked for $2.5 million in damages for his client. Although the amount jurors said Riddick should get is a fraction of that, the fact the jury sided with him was a source of validation.

“I think our client can feel vindicated because this is the jury saying they believed him not them," explained Cooper. 'They said the Northern Southern employees messed up. They were negligent, and he was free from fault.”

When asked for comment, Norfolk Southern’s lawyer, David Bowen, said the verdict speaks for itself.

A media relations manager with Norfolk Southern Corporate Communications said that it doesn't comment on legal matters.

Norfolk Southern, which was based in Norfolk, made the decision to move its headquarters to Atlanta in 2018.

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