FELA Award of $3.2 Million After Railroad Worker Falls from Ladder

A Union Pacific Railroad employee represented by DBJ received a $3.2 million jury verdict as a result of a fall from a crane ladder. Mark Larsen, 54, missed a rung on the ladder and fell twelve feet onto the train tracks, suffering neck and back injuries.

Against the recommendation of his supervisor, Larsen filed a personal safety injury with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Once he was ready to return to work, he was fired for alleged personal use of a company truck.

Larsen sued Union Pacific for negligence under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), alleging the company provided an unsafe workplace, failed to inspect its work processes for safety, and did not warn employees of dangers.

Larson’s attorneys, including Wes Shumate and Scott Bethune of DBJ, offered to settle the case for $3.2 million. Union Pacific responded with a lowball offer of a mere $25,000. The jury resoundingly affirmed the fairness of the plaintiff’s pre-trial offer, awarding exactly the settlement amount in damages.

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