Call Us: 1.800.873.5297


BNSF Worker Reaches $2.3 Million Settlement

by Kelly Wiese, Missouri Lawyers Weekly

Case was filed four days before tort reform took effect

An injured railroad worker has reached a nearly $2.3 million settlement with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. in St. Louis City Circuit Court.

Thomas Joe Carney sued BNSF in August 2005 over injuries he suffered while working as a railroad engineer.

According to an amended version of the lawsuit, filed in February, Carney was operating a train on Aug. 16, 2005, when the train ran over rough track, injuring the Thayer man. The suit alleges the track had problems because of a slope failure that occurred during construction of a side track.

Carney said in the suit that his back, neck and spine were injured, and he has severe pain and suffering and continues to have medical treatment for the injuries. He also suffered psychological injury and mental anguish, according to the suit, along with lost wages and benefits.

The lawsuit argued the company was liable under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, “failed to provide the plaintiff with a reasonably safe place to work” and failed to maintain its track in safe condition. The suit also alleges the railroad should have ensured that contractor Ralph Whitehead Associates properly designed the side track.

The suit claims Burlington Northern and Ralph Whitehead should have halted construction once a slope failure was possible, and that they failed to properly monitor the construction project.

St. Louis Circuit Judge David Dowd approved a settlement last month providing Carney $2.26 million and giving the railroad the ability to seek payment from Ralph Whitehead. Dowd, after hearing Carney’s testimony, found the settlement “is reasonable and represents a good-faith compromise.” The judge said that under the federal law, the railroad has a duty to provide a “reasonably safe” workplace and can be held liable for potentially negligent acts by third parties.

Roger Denton, of Schlichter Bogard & Denton in St. Louis, represented Carney. Denton did not return a message seeking comment while he was out of town.

The railroad’s attorney was William Brasher, of the Brasher Law Firm in St. Louis. He also could not be reached for comment.

The railroad has moved several lawsuits it’s defending to St. Louis County Circuit Court under changes in state tort laws approved in 2005.

But Carney’s lawsuit was filed in the city court four days before those changes took effect and just eight days after the accident. That means the old standards governed this case, and it was allowed because the railroad does business in the city.

Under the revamped tort laws, venue is where an injury occurred, or for out-of-state injuries, where corporate defendants have a registered agent or where a plaintiff lives. The railroad’s agent is in St. Louis County.

The company has moved seven railroad personal injury cases to the county since 2006, Brasher said recently, with more to come.

Facts of the Case

Type of Action: workplace injury/FELA
Court: St. Louis City Circuit Court
Case Number/Date: 22052-09273/March 18, 2008
Judge: David Dowd
Verdict or Settlement: $ 2.26 settlement
Caption: Thomas Joe Carney v. BNSF Railway
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Roger Denton and Richard Zalasky, Schlichter Bogard & Denton, St. Louis
Defendant’s Attorneys: William Brasher, Brasher Law Firm, St. Louis

BNSF worker reaches $2.3 million settlement

000-017   000-080   000-089   000-104   000-105   000-106   070-461   100-101   100-105  , 100-105  , 101   101-400   102-400   1V0-601   1Y0-201   1Z0-051   1Z0-060   1Z0-061   1Z0-144   1z0-434   1Z0-803   1Z0-804   1z0-808   200-101   200-120   200-125  , 200-125  , 200-310   200-355   210-060   210-065   210-260   220-801   220-802   220-901   220-902   2V0-620   2V0-621   2V0-621D   300-070   300-075   300-101   300-115   300-135   3002   300-206   300-208   300-209   300-320   350-001   350-018   350-029   350-030   350-050   350-060   350-080   352-001   400-051   400-101   400-201   500-260   640-692   640-911   640-916   642-732   642-999   700-501   70-177   70-178   70-243   70-246   70-270   70-346   70-347   70-410   70-411   70-412   70-413   70-417   70-461   70-462   70-463   70-480   70-483   70-486   70-487   70-488   70-532   70-533   70-534   70-980   74-678   810-403   9A0-385   9L0-012   9L0-066   ADM-201   AWS-SYSOPS   C_TFIN52_66   c2010-652   c2010-657   CAP   CAS-002   CCA-500   CISM   CISSP   CRISC   EX200   EX300   HP0-S42   ICBB   ICGB   ITILFND   JK0-022   JN0-102   JN0-360   LX0-103   LX0-104   M70-101   MB2-704   MB2-707   MB5-705   MB6-703   N10-006   NS0-157   NSE4   OG0-091   OG0-093   PEGACPBA71V1   PMP   PR000041   SSCP   SY0-401   VCP550  

Legal Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed as legal advice and does not form the basis for an attorney/client relationship.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements.
This web site is not intended to be advertising, and Schlichter Bogard & Denton LLP does not desire to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this web site in a jurisdiction where this web site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that jurisdiction. Materials on this web site may only be reproduced in their entirety (without modification) for the individual reader's personal and/or educational use and must include this notice.

We will not disclose, sell, or rent any of your identifiable personal information to any third party, unless approved by you, or required by law.