$935,275.80 Verdict For Railroad Employee

Dorrance v. Union Pacific Railroad, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV07336

Plaintiff Dorrance was an employee of defendant Union Pacific Railroad.  He brought this claim pursuant to the Federal Employers’ Liability Act which governs on-the-job injuries for railroad employees rather than worker’s compensation laws.  The Act allows Dorrance to sue his own employer for negligently causing him injury.

Dorrance was working at a switching location when he fell.  He alleged that the location’s walkway was unsafe due to large rocks and debris and no lighting.  He also alleged that his employer violated Oregon railroad walkway safety standards.  He claimed that the fall caused him injuries including a disc herniation at L5/S1 and injury to adjacent nerve roots. His doctor did not believe he was a surgical candidate. He underwent extensive care before finally having a spinal cord stimulator implanted.  He alleged that his injury prevented him from returning to work and that his extensive pain is permanent.

Union Pacific Railroad argued that Dorrance was responsible for his own injury for failing to keep a lookout, failing to inspect his work area prior to working and failing to plan his work so as to prevent injury. They also disputed the cause and extent of Dorrance’s injury and alleged that Dorrance failed to mitigate his damages.

Plaintiff’s Counsel – Bradley Wahrlich

Defense Counsel – Timothy Coleman

Verdict – $935,275.80 (Verdict was $1,159,148 but jury found Dorrance 15% at fault and also that he failed to mitigate $50,000 in damages)

Date – April 8, 2016

April 20, 2016

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