1.35 Million Dollar Settlement in a Wrongful Death Action

Andereck, Evans, Widger, Johnson & Lewis, LLC Successfully Negotiated a 1.35 Million Dollar Settlement with the Union Pacific Railroad Company in a Wrongful Death Action.

In September of 2014, Bill Lewis, Matt Krohn, and Jason Wilson successfully negotiated a 1.35 Million Dollar settlement with the Union Pacific Railroad Company for the wrongful death of Nina Spencer. Nina was a passenger in a motor vehicle that was hit by a train in December of 2009 in Trenton, Grundy County, Missouri.  Nina’s death left behind 3 orphaned boys.  The collision occurred at a crossing that was not protected with lights and gates and had trees and brush on each side of the road that obstructed the view of motorists of oncoming trains. The evidence also showed that the train was travelling 57 miles per hour at a crossing in town and the train horn had malfunctioned, providing little, if any, audible warning.

Andereck, Evans, Widger, Johnson & Lewis, LLC represented Nina’s surviving family members against Union Pacific Railroad Company, alleging that the railroad was negligent by failing to install lights and gates at the crossing, failing to cut trees and other brush that blocked the driver’s view of oncoming trains, failing to provide an audible warning, and failing to slow or stop the train at the crossing.

Due to special provisions under federal law that protect railroad companies, commonly referred to as preemption, the victims and family members of victims of railroad negligence are often left without judicial recourse and railroads are insulated from the consequences of their negligent acts.  Andereck, Evans, Widger, Johnson & Lewis, LLC was able to use creative and novel legal arguments to prevent Union Pacific Railroad Company from benefitting from preemption in this case.  This tactic allowed Andereck, Evans, Widger, Johnson & Lewis, LLC to secure the largest known settlement for any wrongful death that arose out of Grundy County, Missouri.

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