Anderson v. Union Pacific Railroad Company

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Anderson v. Union Pacific Railroad Company

Case Number
Call Date
December 6, 2016
Court Number
Scotts Bluff
Case Summary

S-15-1224 Dan Anderson v. Union Pacific Railroad Company (Appellant)

Scotts Bluff County, Judge Randall L. Lippstreu

Attorneys: William M. Lamson, Jr., Cathy S. Trent-Vilim (Lamson Dugan Murray LLP) and Torry N. Garland (for Union Pacific, Appellant) --- Kyle J. Long, Robert G. Pahlke (Robert Pahlke Law Group) (Appellee) --- Nichole S. Bogen (Sattler & Bogen LLP) and Kathryn D. Kirmayer, Daniel Saphire (Association of American Railroads, Amicus Curiae)

Civil: Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), injury to worker

Proceedings below: A jury found in favor of Anderson in the amount of $920,007. Appellant filed a Petition to Bypass which was granted by the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Issues: L The trial erred by overruling Union Pacific's motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Since Union Pacific had no notice of any alleged misuse of the chair or the defect in the bolt, and the undisputed evidence is that the defect could not be seen with the naked eye and could not have been detected on inspection, Anderson failed to prove the accident was not reasonably foreseeable to Union Pacific. II. Union Pacific is entitled to a new trial because portions of the record Union Pacific requested be preserved were never recorded or were lost after the trial. This deficiency, caused through no fault of Union Pacific, prevents the court from conducting a meaningful review of its appeal and has prejudiced Union Pacific.

III. The trial erred by instructing the jury on res ipsa loquitur. The facts did not support giving the instruction, and the instructions the court gave were confusing, incorrect, and led to an inconsistent verdict. IV. The trial court unfairly prejudiced Union Pacific by allowing Anderson to introduce evidence of his medical expenses, which were irrelevant, and compounded the error by refusing to allow Union Pacific to offer evidence it paid the medical expenses. This one-sided evidence created a false impression, which Anderson then capitalized on in his closing argument. V. The trial court awarded Anderson a six-figure windfall by limiting the amount of Union Pacific's post-trial credit to the amount of medical expenses Union Pacific paid to Anderson's medical providers instead of the amount awarded by the jury.