Lincoln Attorneys Announce Reinstatement of Jury Verdict and a $1,031,000 judgment against BNSF

Share Article

Atwood Law Firm has announced that it has won reinstatement of a 2016 jury verdict in a large whistleblower retaliation case. The Lincoln, Nebraska based attorneys are specialists in FELA, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and employment/whistleblower claims. Additionally, Atwood Law Firm offers services in family law, estate planning and probate, mediation, and many other areas of law.

We are extremely happy with the Court of Appeals reinstating the jury’s verdict for Dan. Significantly, the Eighth Circuit properly found that the FRSA provides protections when railroaders raise concerns of hazardous safety conditions in good faith.

Lincoln, Nebraska based attorneys, Atwood Law Firm, are personal injury and employment law specialists and have just announced they have won a large case against BNSF Railway Company. The case contested the dismissal of the plaintiff, a BNSF employee, allegedly due to a rule violation and insubordination.

The case, case number No. 18-3346, involved the plaintiff, Daniel Monohon, who raised his concern about the safety of wearing a seatbelt while hy-railing. Hy-railing refers to a vehicle that can operate both on rail tracks and a conventional road. The plaintiff’s reasoning was that he would be unable to bail from the vehicle if he were to unexpectedly come across a train on the same track. The plaintiff respectfully raised his safety concern with a high-level BNSF manager, which BNSF described as insubordination. In the end, the plaintiff was fired from his job for supposedly failing to follow the rules and for being insubordinate.

The plaintiff's report of a safety concern was activity that fell under the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), which ensures that employees can report their safety concerns without fear of possible retaliation or discrimination from employers. With the assistance of the Atwood Law Firm, the plaintiff pursued his legal rights concerning the reporting of this safety hazard, as others hy-railing for BNSF had been injured due to the very concern.

After a 5-day jury trial in May of 2016, the jury found that BNSF retaliated against Monohon for his reported safety concern. The jury held BNSF was unable to meet the rigorous burden of showing, by clear and convincing evidence, that it would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action against the plaintiff in the absence of his protected activity. The plaintiff was awarded back pay, compensatory damages, front pay, and attorney’s fees. In all, the final judgment the plaintiff received was more than $1,000,000. However, the trial court denied Monohon’s request to be reinstated as required by the FRSA.

Following the jury verdict, BNSF filed motions with the trial court seeking to take the jury verdict away from Monohon. The motions were submitted in March of 2017, and on October 1, 2018,, the court reversed its prior holdings and revoked the jury verdict, arguing Monohon was not entitled to it as a matter of law. Monohon appealed to the federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting the jury verdict be reinstated. The case was argued and submitted to the appellate court on November 14, 2019.

On November 4, 2021, the Eighth Circuit reversed the trial court and reinstated Monohon’s verdict. The Court of Appeals found that the jury’s decision was correct, and the trial court improperly took the verdict from them. Furthermore, the Court of Appeals found the case should be remanded for a redetermination on the issue of reinstatement—the required remedy under the FRSA.

The trial and appellate team consisted of Corey Stull and Jeanette Stull, who have a great deal of experience in the courtroom in both state and federal courts. When asked about the outcome, Corey Stull said, “We are extremely happy with the Court of Appeals reinstating the jury’s verdict for Dan. Significantly, the Eighth Circuit properly found that the FRSA provides protections when railroaders raise concerns of hazardous safety conditions in good faith. This has been a long time coming for Dan, and he patiently waited for the wheels of justice to grind over a 9-year period. We are thrilled that the court finally provided justice for Dan by reinstating the jury's verdict.”

The Atwood Law Firm has attorneys that are divided into differing areas of expertise, including FELA, personal injury, whistleblower/employment law, and workers’ compensation. Atwood Law Firm was founded in 2000 by Raymond Atwood Jr. From the beginning, the Firm has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of individuals suffering significant harm and injuries.

Atwood Law Firm has a team of award-winning lawyers, and their team is always prepared to meet their clients' needs. They also believe that the size of their firm allows them to have a more personal relationship with their clients and to work together as a team.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Steve Smith
S&S Pro Services
+1 (970) 466-2668
Email >
Visit website