The Nebraska Supreme Court will hear arguments next month in the case of a retired Union Pacific Railroad control operator who was awarded a $920,000 judgement against his former employer by a Scotts Bluff County District jury in July of 2015.
The judgement involved injuries suffered when a chair Dan Anderson was sitting on broke while he was employed at the railroad’s’s South Morrill facility in October,2007. Anderson’s attorneys said the chair was five years into its 12 year warranty when it collapsed. Kyle Long with the Robert Pahlke law firm said the manufacturer specifically warned that the chair was not warranted for individuals weighing more than 300 pounds.
Anderson only weighed a little over 200 pounds, but witnesses testified at trial that the chair was used nearly around the clock without any maintenance and by people weighing in excess of the 300 pound limit.
As the result of the injury Anderson lost 61 days of work and needed fusion back surgery. The doctor also recommended a sacroiliac joint fusion in the near future.
Union Pacific Railroad argues in its appeal for a new trial that any defects in the chair could not be foreseen by the railroad. The railroad also argues the jury instructions were confusing, that their motion for a directed verdict should have been granted and that the railroad should have been allowed to enter into evidence that they paid for Anderson’s medical expenses.