FELA Jury Verdicts-Awards-Settlements
Newspaper article - FELA Jury Award for man hurt at railyard called record
A Montana man whose hand was crushed while he was working for the DM&E in South Dakota was awarded a Settlement by a Hennepin County jury.
Legal claims and FELA lawsuits can frequently be settled without a trial. Knowledgeable attorneys know how to evaluate FELA lawsuits and present the proper arguments to the defense to maximize your settlement. However, many settlements are reached "at the courthouse steps". That is, the defense is unwilling to pay an appropriate sum without forcing the plaintiff to wait longer and incur greater expenses in preparing for trial.
Yaeger & Jungbauer Barristers, PLC is familiar with these tactics and are capable of filing a FELA injunction for settlement. In these circumstances and with your approval, YJB attorneys and staff prepare cases for trial. Our litigators try cases in local, state, and federal courts around the country and are able to present your FELA case or injunction clearly and forcefully. Many times, when presented with well-prepared trial teams, the case is finally settled.
While we-obtain multi-million dollar case settlements, most cases are of smaller amounts. The YJB dedication applies to all cases. For instance, in a 2003 case in Juneau County, WI, YJB proved that the railroad was incorrect in its assertion that all equipment was working properly. Our investigators tracked down the employee who handled the car immediately after it was reported as defective, and he verified that in fact the wheel wobbled so much that it presented a very hazardous condition. The jury deliberated for two hours and awarded the worker $160,000, more than three times the railroad's last offer.
In today's legal environment, almost all settlements are reached with a confidentiality clause attached. Therefore, most cases cannot be publicly discussed or the amount of settlement stated. Only cases, which go to trial and have a verdict reached, can be used in our listing.
We are proud to have recovered millions of FELA awards in much needed compensation for injured railroaders in a wide variety of cases including:
- Frank Aloi vs. Union Pacific RR, during which a Denver, Colorado jury returned a verdict of $6 million in damages, at the time the highest FELA jury award in history.
- Hillyard v. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway, 01-2-34536-2SEA (2003), in which a BNSF Engineer, working as a conductor in Kettle Falls, WA, was operating a pin lifter mechanism that malfunctioned, causing him to slip and amputating his leg below the knee. BNS settled the case after a four-week trial.
- Norfolk & Western Railway Company v. Ayers, in which the firm represented the BLET as amicus curiae before the Supreme Court of the United States in a landmark 2003 decision which protected injured railroad workers and completely thwarted an attempt by the railroad industry to undermine their employees’ rights under the FELA.
- Confidential settlements for several families injured during a spill of anhydrous ammonia during a CP rail derailment near Minot, North Dakota. The YJB team produced evident sufficient to underscore CP's negligence and fault in multiple respects; such as violations of multiple federal safety regulations, CP used old, worn out, undersized 100 pound rail despite knowing it was inadequate, substandard, and inappropriate for such use, CP failed to follow its own internal rules regarding the inspection, maintenance and repair of continuous welded rail, CP discontinued ultrasonic testing which would have detected the cracked joint bar and prevented the derailment, among others (see full article in Winter 2006 Yaeger report).
- A more than $2 million FELA award by a Utah jury to longtime Amtrak engineers Larry Queen and Jerry Cunliffe who suffered career-ending Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on Feb. 15, 1995 when their locomotive was sliced open by a 40 foot long steel beam protruding from a Union Pacific rail car.
- A 1988 case involving a car-train crash in northwestern Illinois, in which the firm obtained a then-record $1,250,000 structured settlement on behalf of a four year old boy, whose mother and unborn sibling were killed in a grade-crossing accident.
- A $1.1 million FELA jury award to an Iowa man who was injured when a group of employees from his company, I&M Rail Link, left a switch open and unlocked, causing his train to improperly enter a track, on a collision course with another train. Randall A. Buck was injured when he jumped from the engine at the last minute, before the rains collided.
- An $800,000 verdict in Detroit for a 48-year old Conrail Engineer who sustained a permanently disabling back injury when an engine handbrake malfunctioned.
- A 500,000 award by a Casper, Wyoming jury to Union Pacific conductor Thomas Murry who was injured when a bus that was transporting him went off Interstate 80 on Halloween in 2003, leaving him permanently disabled. He railroad initially offered Murry a $10,000 settlement.
- A confidential record settlement on behalf of a locomotive engineer involved in a collision between two trains, using the theory of negligent promotion, where the Defendant Railroad certified an engineer who clearly shouldn't have been.
- A confidential record settlement in a single inhalation case, where our client had been trapped in a locomotive engine cab, which started on fire.
- A confidential record settlement in a PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) case, where the engineer's train struck a "runaway freight car," leaving the engineer unable to return to work.
- A confidential settlement in a traumatic brain injury case, in which a 61 year old conductor was injured in a caboose derailment case.
- Two cases where the railroad fired the worker for turning in personal injury report forms, assisting the worker's union officials in obtaining the employee's reinstatement with full back pay.
- Smalley v. DWP, 5-88-23 App 90-5326 (1990)
- Albinger v. Burlington Northern, ADV 92-319 (1995)
- Kulavic v. Chicago & Illinois Midland Ry. Co., 1 F.3d 507 (C.A.7 (Ill.) 1993)
- Pikop v. Burlington Northern R. Co., 390 N.W.2d 743 (Minn. 1986)
- Garcia v. Burlington Northern R. Co., 818 F.2d 713 (C.A.10 (Colo.) 1987)
- Stevens v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., 915 F.2d 1565, Unpublished (4th Cir 1990)
- Melin v. Burlington Northern R. Co., 401 N.W.2d 418 (Minn. Ct. App 1987)
- Lindsey v. Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co. (as Amicus Curiae), 775 F.2d 1322 (5th Cir. 1985)
Our depth and breadth of experience in the handling of FELA claims extends to our representation of injured people in matters arising from automobile accidents, general negligence, dangerous and defective products and aviation accidents.
Some of our more substantial recoveries include:
- A $12.2 million plus jury verdict for a boiler repairman from Fargo, N.D. who was injured when an improperly maintained pipe broke while he was doing a cost estimate for the Crookston swimming pool, spraying him with 250 degree water and steam that caused third-degree burns over 67 percent of his body.
- A $2.6 million insurance bad faith verdict in Kissoondath v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., 620 N.W.2d 909 (Minn. Ct, App. 2001). In that case a man and his wife were sitting in their parked pickup truck when they were struck and injured by a taxicab.
- Short v. Dairyland Ins. Co., 334 N.W.2d 384 (Minn. 1983)
- Forster v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 437 N.W.2d 655 (Minn. 1989)
- Myers v. John Deere Ltd., 683 F.2d 270 (C.A.8 (N.D.) 1982)
- Foss v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (as Amicus Curiae), 1996 Minn. App. LEXIS 1286 (Minn. Ct. App. 1996)
- Lundman v. McKown (as Amicus Curiae), 530 N.W.2d 807, cert. denied, 516 U.S. 1092 (1996) (Minn. Ct. App. 1995