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Justice Attained for CSX Brakeman Who Lost Life after Asbestos, Diesel Fume Exposure

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  • Justice Attained for CSX Brakeman Who Lost Life after Asbestos, Diesel Fume Exposure

    Rick Shapiro, one of my law firm partners, won an $8.6 million jury verdict in a FELA wrongful death case against CSX.

    Rick worked tirelessly on this case for over four years and was finally able to get some semblance of justice for his client, and now his surviving widow. Tragically, Rick’s client passed away before the case was resolved.

    Rick's client was a railroad worker brakeman/switchman who lost his life to lung cancer following a five-year battle, after being exposed to asbestos, diesel fumes, and radiation during his 40 year career. he is survived by his widow, who married him around the time he first went to work for CSX, then the L & N railroad.

    Rick's client handled cargo and scrap metal from the DOE Oak Ridge nuclear facilities and regularly switched cars in/out of a toxic radioactive dump that later was declared a Superfund site and required 15 years of cleanup. He also worked on asbestos-laden locomotives and inhaled diesel exhaust on switching engines for decades.

    The jury awarded $8.6 million to Rick’s client, and assigned 62% contributory neglgence, based on cigarette smoking. However, the jury also concluded that CSX violated at least 3 safety statutes or regulations. When a railroad is guilty of a safety statute violation, there is no contributory negligence reduction of a verdict. Nonetheless, CSX is doing everything they can to avoid compensating the former rail employee's estate, among other arguments contending that $3.2 million should be the judgment sum (8-6 M less 62% contributory fault) We are still waiting for a resolution and entry of the judgment by the judge, but have no doubt that we believe the $8.6 million verdict reached by the jury is the proper judgment.

    Let us know what you think by responding to this post.
    Randy Appleton
    FELA Railroad Injury Attorney
    Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton, P.C.
    Our Railroad/FELA website
    1294 Diamond Springs Road
    Virginia Beach, VA 23455
    Ph: 800-752-0042

  • #2
    Rick is an awesome lawyer and that is a great result. The client should be as happy as possible under the circumstances.
    Steve Gordon
    Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
    FELA Lawyer
    FELA Lawyer Blog
    Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
    Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365


    • #3
      First off congrats on the verdict, and thank you for all that you and other FELA Lawyer do for the membership and familes.

      I think it is important to point out that railroaders are consistently placed in dangerous conditions by the Carriers, and do not always inform the employees of those conditions until much later after the fact, and consistently blame the employees for the conditions that the employer placed them in via alleged operating rules violations.
      I truly hope that the Railroad does not get its' way as far as the reduction in judgment, thus setting precedent for subsequent cases no doubt.