Eric Zahn V BNSF Jury Verdict $884,280
THE BREMSETH LAW FIRM is proud to announce another successful jury verdict against the BNSF. On Tuesday, May 27, 2014, a Hennepin County Jury in Minneapolis, Minnesota awarded our client Eric Zahn, $884,280.00 for injuries he suffered to his lower and upper respiratory systems as a result of being exposed to anhydrous ammonia at an industry known as the Farmer’s Co-op in West Lemars, Iowa.
Mr. Zahn had never serviced this co-op before, and he testified that he smelled a strong ammonia odor while working near the industry switch, which was located in close proximity to several anhydrous ammonia “nurse tanks” that were being stored at the co-op. Mr. Zahn’s supervisors knew of his injuries, but failed to do any type of inspection to figure out what had happened. In fact, BNSF admitted that it did not inspect the co-op’s property or inquire of co-op personnel to determine what hazards might be present before dispatching its employees to work there. BNSF also admitted that it never informed Mr. Zahn that there was anhydrous ammonia being stored at the co-op before sending him there.
Mr. Zahn, who was 26 years old at the time, did not immediately report his exposure. He continued to work for the remainder of his shift, but did seek treatment the following day. He initially missed six days of work and had a total past wage loss claim of approximately $5,000. Although he continued to work, Mr. Zahn did treat a few times in the months following the initial exposure. For the next two years, he did not treat; however, he finally did receive a diagnosis from a specialist which included permanent reactive airways disease (RADS) as a result of exposure to the anhydrous ammonia. Ultimately, Mr. Zahn relocated to Arizona because working in cold weather exacerbates his symptoms. At this time, Mr. Zahn continues to work for the BNSF as an engineer.