Western Nebraska jury finds Union Pacific owes worker $560,000 for on-the-job injuries

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nebraska jury says UP owes injured worker $560K

GERING, Neb. — Union Pacific Corp. should pay a worker who was injured when she tripped over an object on the job $560,000, a Scotts Bluff County jury ruled.

The jury ruled last week in favor of locomotive engineer Cynthia Clearview, who had sued Union Pacific after she tripped over something while walking at the Jacob’s Ranch Mine crew-change area near Wright, Wyo., the night of Nov. 7, 2007.

Clearview’s lawyers, Robert Pahlke and Kyle Long, said Clearview is not completely disabled but that her injuries have kept her from returning to her job as a locomotive engineer. Clearview, 47, lives near Douglas, Wyo., and no longer works for Union Pacific.

She alleged Union Pacific was negligent because, among other reasons, it failed to provide adequate lighting on the path.

Other workers testified that complaints about the bad lighting had been made for several years to Union Pacific.

The railroad had denied negligence.

The jury awarded $800,000 in damages to Clearview but said Union Pacific was only 70 percent responsible, so it reduced her award to $560,000. The jury did not explain why it held Clearview 30 percent responsible.

Pahlke and Long said Monday that they couldn’t explain why the jury reduced the award. They said Clearview moved carefully down the path that night and was using a flashlight.

It is unclear whether Union Pacific planned to appeal the jury’s award to Clearview. Lawyers for the Omaha-based company did not immediately return a call Monday from The Associated Press.

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