MANHATTAN (CN) – A former Metro-North rail worker can keep the $118,000 awarded by a jury for hearing loss he sustained working for 29 years as a flagman on rail construction sites, a federal judge ruled.
At his trial, Ronald Folmsbee estimated that he heard a train horn being blown for around 15 seconds as trains passed close by, at least 200 times per day during portions of his seven years at a Stamford, Ct., station.
He told a jury that the noise caused him a temporary tingling sensation.
“If you [were] right next to the train and he blew the horn in your ear and that went on 200 times a day, five and six days a week, quite a few hours [were spent with tingling],” he testified, according to court documents.
Besides the train horns, Folmsbee said other assignments assaulted his eardrums in different ways.
For five years, he said he worked within 10 feet of a screeching, tunnel-digging, rock-cutting, giant saw, and then spent another five years working near booming diesel engines in a tunnel.
For up to three months, he stood less than 12 feet from a large, hydraulic drilling machine and 2 to 3 feet from jackhammers.
At this site, he said that he and his co-workers needed to use air horns to speak to each other.
Trying to dodge the award, Metro-North argued that it could not have foreseen how Folmsbee’s job could have harmed his hearing.
U.S. Magistrate Judge George Yanthis shot down that appeal on Wednesday.