Record-setting verdict to a railroad worker for severe and progressive neurological injuries he suffered while working in a BNSF railroad yard in 2014. The accident happened when BNSF mishandled tanker cars carrying toxic petrochemicals in the railyard, causing the cars to vent poisonous gas where the man was working. The cars were being hauled through the BNSF Northtown Yard in Minneapolis on their way to Canada. The worker experienced serious neurological problems immediately after he was exposed to the toxic chemicals.
Rather than informing the worker or his doctors about the toxic nature of the chemicals, BNSF began an immediate cover-up of the facts of the accident and the seriousness of the toxic exposure, by telling the worker and his doctors that he was only exposed to a benign chemical that would not cause him long-term harm. BNSF also told the Federal Railroad Administration that incident was nothing more than a “false alarm” and they would not investigate it further.
After a week of trial, the jury returned a verdict of $15,343,753 in the worker’s favor. Hearings to determine additional monetary sanctions for BNSF’s misconduct will be held in the coming months, as will a hearing where the railroad and its attorney must explain to the Court why they should not be held in contempt of court for their actions.