April 15, 2017
Knight Nicastro Success: Jeffrey Helmink v. BNSF
Chad Knight and Anthony Nicastro defended BNSF in a lawsuit filed by a mobile repair carman who suffered an amputation injury when a railcar he lost control of a railcar he was working on and it ran over his foot while he was attempting to stop it. The Plaintiff blamed the incident on soft ground conditions at the work location made it unsafe for jacking cars. He claimed the poor ground conditions caused him to have to reposition the car and it was during this process that he was injured. Chad and Anthony demonstrated through documents and training videos that BNSF is a safety conscious company that provided all of the necessary training to Mr. Helmink and his co-worker. They were fully training on how to safely reposition a car and instructed to never attempt to mount a moving railcar. BNSF put in place procedures, rules and redundant protections so that Mr. Helmink could do this repair job without ever putting himself in harm’s way, and the redundant systems made it so that Mr. Helmink had no reason to try to stop the car as it rolled away. Plaintiff’s counsel asked for $17 million in closing argument. The jury returned a defense verdict in just over an hour of deliberations.