BNSF Told to Pay $1.7 Million to Dallas City Man
In what is believed to be the largest monetary verdict in Hancock County, Ill., George Mitchell of Dallas City came out of a one-and-a-half week trial against BNSF Railroad, his employer, with a judgment for $1.779 million.
For more than 14 years, Mitchell worked as a track laborer for BNSF, maintaining railroad track throughout the country. He often worked 16 hour days in heavy manual labor with picks, clawbars, spike nails and other heavy industrial tools. Mitchell, 50, claimed he repeatedly was exposed to awkward neck postures, heavy forces and vibration that slowly caused deterioration of his spine. Mitchell was diagnosed with herniated discs, spinal cord stenosis and nerve root impingement. His injuries required surgery; BNSF initially denied the claim, saying the railroad work did not contribute to his injuries.