A DBJ-represented railroad conductor received a jury-verdict judgment of $3.5 million in a negligence case against Union Pacific Railway. Franklin David Barker, of Ankeny, Iowa, developed kidney failure after a rigorous shift in near-zero weather conditions.
Barker asked his dispatcher for additional help but was denied. After the shift, he went to the emergency room, where it was determined he was suffering from rhabdomyolysis, the breakdown of muscle tissue leading to the release of muscle fiber contents into the blood, causing renal failure. The suit alleged that defective equipment contributed to unsafe working conditions, violating federal railroad work safety laws.
Barker “sustained life threatening, severe and permanent injuries,” his lawyers, including Wes Shumate and Scott S. Bethune of DBJ, alleged. “On account of these injuries plaintiff has undergone extensive medical care and treatment and plaintiff will be required to seek medical treatment and life care in the future.”
There were no pretrial settlement discussions because Union Pacific refused to negotiate. Instead, they were required by the jury to pay $400,000 for past pain and suffering, $1.25 million for future pain and suffering, $24,975 in past lost earnings, $178,050 in future lost earnings, $1.38 million for future medical expenses, and $313,000 for loss of household services.
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