Schlichter Bogard & Denton Obtains $5 Million Verdict for Injured Railroad Worker

Following a week-long trial in Greene County, Missouri, Schlichter Bogard & Denton attorneys Nelson Wolff and Mark Beatty on April 27, 2018 obtained a $5 million verdict on behalf of Jamie Mitchell against the BNSF Railway Company. Mitchell was injured on August 27, 2015 while working as a conductor in BNSF’s Springfield Yard. He was attempting to climb down the ladder of a railcar when a defective handrail gave way, causing him to fall to the ground and land on his back. The handrail had been damaged earlier that evening as a result of a derailment on the adjacent track.

Over the next 16 months, Mitchell required surgery on his low back and shoulder. He returned to work, but was reinjured on February 23, 2017, while operating a defective pin lifting lever to separate railcars in a train in the same railyard. Despite multiple spine injections, Mitchell experienced ongoing pain and is permanently disabled from returning to his job at the railroad. 

During the hotly contested trial, BNSF denied liability and claimed that Mitchell was to blame. According to attorney Nelson Wolff:

Jamie Mitchell was a loyal railroad worker. But when he was injured due to unsafe working conditions, BNSF denied any responsibility and blamed him. This verdict restores his reputation as a good worker and provides him with money needed to pay for significant medical needs and to take care of his family. 

News coverage related to the case, which was tried before Judge Michael J. Cordonnier, can be found here and here. The case is captioned James T. Michell v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 1631-CC00622. 

For more information about Schlichter Bogard & Denton’s Railroad Injury practice, please contact Schlichter Bogard & Denton at 1-800-873-5297 or sbd@uselaws.com