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Illinois Jury Awards FELA Plaintiff Less Than 1% of Ask

Nilan Johnson Lewis’ Christy Mennen, along with attorneys Ray Groble and Matt Hammer from Daley Mohan Groble in Chicago, prevailed in Velasco v. Canadian Pacific Railway for client Canadian Pacific after a two-week long district court jury trial in Cook County, Ill.

The case stemmed from an incident in February 2015 when the plaintiff slipped and fell three times on ice and snow while working as an outside trainmaster at Canadian Pacific’s Galewood Yard. The plaintiff alleged liability under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), but Mennen and the rest of Canadian Pacific’s trial team maintained there was no objective evidence to support his continuing complaints of pain, that his reported symptoms were inconsistent with objective radiographic studies and other tests, and that he was capable of returning to work, including overtime. The jury deliberated three hours before rendering its verdict, awarding only $33,000 of the nearly $4 million in damages sought by the plaintiff.

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this case and believe that the jury made their decision based on science and the objective evidence,” said Mennen. “Our defense was bolstered by social media posts of the plaintiff attending music festivals in other states and spending significant time in a recording studio at least an hour from his home that showed he was capable of fulfilling the roles his employers had made available to him.”

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