$15.3 Million: Kowalewski v. BNSF

A 53-year old railroad worker sustained serious and progressive neurological injuries on January 19, 2014, as a result of being exposed to hazardous chemicals which came from a fracking oil field in Texas and were being hauled (and humped) through the BNSF Northtown Yard in Minneapolis.

The worker showed immediate symptoms of neurological injury, but was not provided emergency medical care for nearly one hour.  The BNSF reported to the injured employee and others that he was only subjected to sulfur dioxide, which was not accurate.   The BNSF told the Federal Railroad Administration in the day following the exposure that the incident was a “false alarm.”  Unfortunately, the injured worker’s health continued to deteriorate due to the progressive nature of the neurological injury and by June 2015 was unable to work since his gross and fine motor skills were being adversely affected.

Despite being diagnosed with the neurological condition, the worker attempted to return to work as a conductor for the BNSF in 2016.  His attempt only lasted just over 6 months.  He has been disabled from working and his condition will continue to decline.

The trial was conducted in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The trial only involved proving damages since the Court had previously ruled that BNSF’s misconduct, which included paying off a witness, destroying or not providing certain audio and video recordings, not producing the subject hazardous material cars which were carrying the fracking well-head casing oil, and other abuses, affected the injured worker’s ability to prove his case.   The Court’s Order is attached for review by all.

Featured in the Star Tribune, February 23, 2018: Hennepin County jury awards $15 million to rail worker who inhaled noxious fumes

Jossart Law has represented clients in personal injury, whistleblower and FELA cases in Minnesota and states across the country, including Arizona, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin. She is a fighter with years of courtroom experience. No case is too big or too small.

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