SE Texas Record

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Jury clears BNSF Railroad of any negligence

By David Yates | Oct 28, 2013

Poole douglas

A personal injury trial against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad ended with a no-negligence verdict.

Joseph Egland filed suit against the company on Feb. 7, 2007, in Jefferson County District Court. 

The trial began Oct. 21 in Judge Gary Sanderson’s 60th District Court and ended three days later with no damages awarded to the plaintiff.

According to the plaintiff’s third amended petition, on June 20, 2005, Egland claims he was working as a longshoreman on a railcar supplied by BNSF when the defective condition of the railcar caused him to injure his shoulder and body in general.

On Oct. 23 jurors heard testimony via video deposition from one of Egland’s coworkers, who was on site when the alleged injury occurred.

According to testimony, Egland and another man were struggling to open the railcar door. Egland told the witness that he injured his shoulder when the handle of the door sprung back.

The witness further testified that they received no official training on how to open railcar doors and learned while on the job.

According to the charge of the court, jurors found Egland 20 percent negligent in causing his injury, assigning the remaining 80 percent of the blame to his employer at the time of the incident, P.C. Pfeiffer Co.

The suit accuses BNSF of negligently supplying a railcar with an unsafe condition and negligently failing to inspect, maintain and repair the railcar.

Egland asked jurors to award him damages for his alleged past and future lost wages, medical expenses, pain and impairment.

No damages were awarded to Egland.

He is represented by John Werner, attorney for the Beaumont law firm Reaud, Morgan & Quinn.

Attorney Douglas W. Poole of McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel PC in Galveston is representing the defendant.

Case No. B178-607

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