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Our firm has a national reputation for success in our representation of railroad workers injured on the job, seeking compensation under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act or FELA. Recognized as one of the premier FELA firms, at Yaeger & Jungbauer Barristers, PLC we have handled thousands of FELA cases and related actions under the Federal Safety Appliance Act (FSSA) and the Federal Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA). We represent injured railroaders in state and federal courts in more than 40 states.

We are proud to have recovered millions in much needed compensation for injured railroaders in a wide variety of cases including:

  • Wooten v. BNSF Ry. Co. No. 9:16-CV-139-DLC (D.Mont.): Joint FELA/FRSA case in which the jury returned a $2.17 million verdict, the largest awarded to date under the FRSA.
  • Aloi vs. Union Pacific RR, during which a Denver, Colorado jury returned what was at the time the highest FELA verdict in history.
  • Hillyard v. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway, 01-2-34536-2SEA (King County, Washington): FELA case 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. BNSF settled the case after a four-week trial.
  • Norfolk & Western Railway Company v. Ayers: Appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States 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.
  • Benda v. BNSF Ry. Co. (W.D.Mo.): District court granted Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on questions of liability, finding that the railroad had breached its duty to provide a reasonably safe place to work by allowing two trains to head toward each other on the same track and that such negligence was a cause, at least in part, of Plaintiff’s injuries.  The district court also granted Plaintiff summary judgment on the question of contributory negligence, finding that the railroad’s violation of 49 C.F.R. § 240.305(a)(1) (requiring locomotives to come to a complete stop at a red signal) was a violation of a statute enacted for the safety of railroad employees and therefore subjected the railroad to strict liability under the FELA (45 U.S.C. § 53).
  • Petersen v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., No. 13-090 (ARB Nov. 20, 2014): The ALJ had determined that “the central reason for disciplining [the employee] for the parking lot incident was that he failed to prevent his feet from being run over, i.e., he sustained an injury that he reported, thereby causing an investigation to be conducted.”  The case resulted in a determination that the railroad’s rules were “written in such a manner that anyone who is injured and reports it will have violated at least a part of one or more of them,” which has the illegal “chilling effect on the reporting of injuries.”  It also marked the first time that the ALJ awarded punitive damages in nearly 20 years on the bench, noting that the railroad’s conduct had been so egregious and “so openly blatant” in ignoring the FRSA’s whistleblower protections of railroad employees.  Following the ARB’s affirmance, the railroad filed a Petition for Review with the Eighth Circuit, after which the parties settled the matter for a confidential amount.
  • Kennedy v. Soo Line R.R. Co. (Hennepin County, Minnesota, 27-CV-12-3265): $3.6 million jury verdict for railroad employee injured when cars were left in the foul and derailed, resulting in injuries to employee.
  • 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 1988 case involving a car-train crash in northwestern Illinois, in which the firm obtained a then-record structured settlement on behalf of a four year old boy, whose mother and unborn sibling were killed in a grade-crossing accident.
  • A 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 trains collided.
  • A verdict in Detroit for a 48-year old Conrail Engineer who sustained a permanently disabling back injury when an engine handbrake malfunctioned.
  • An 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.
  • 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.
  • Rookaird v. BNSF Ry. Co., 908 F.3d 451 (9th Cir. 2018)
  • Wallis v. BNSF Ry. Co., 680 Fed. Appx. 515 (9th Cir. 2017)
  • Grimes v. BNSF Ry. Co., 746 F.3d 184 (5th Cir. 2014)

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.

Disclaimer: The cases above are cited for advertisement purposes.  Every case presents its own unique factual and legal circumstances, and past results are not guarantees of the value of any future case.

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Am insurance bad faith verdict. A man and his wife were sitting in their parked pickup truck when they were struck and injured by a taxicab.

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Federal Whistleblower Laws for Employee Protections

APR 5, 2017

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