Train conductors sue passenger, Metra over alleged assault

By Annie Cosby | Jun 19, 2014


Two Metra conductors are suing over claims they were struck by an angry passenger.

John W. Smak and Christopher DeRue filed a lawsuit June 13 in the Cook County Circuit Court against Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp., also known as Metra, and Robert O'Leary II.

According to the complaint, DeRue was employed by Metra as a conductor and Smak as an assistant conductor on Dec. 21, 2012, when DeRue informed O'Leary, a passenger, he was on the wrong train.

Smak and DeRue claim O'Leary became belligerent when they escorted him from the train at the West Lake Forest Metra Train Station. The suit states he struck Smak in the back with his bicycle and DeRue in the face.

O'Leary is accused of negligence, battery and aggravated assault, and Metra is accused of failing to provide a police presence on the trains and a safe place for its employees to work.

Smak and DeRue are seeking more than $50,000 in damages and are being represented in the case by attorney Scott C. Sands of Sands & Associates in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 2014L006324.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in the Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it only represents one side of the story.

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