Joshua M. Seim vs BNSF Railway Company

  • Court: Minnesota State, District Court
  • Case Number: 27-CV-22-14938
  • Filed: October 12, 2022
  • Judges: Kristin Siegesmund
  • Case Type: Personal Injury
  • Cause: Negligence- FELA

Parties Involved

  • Plaintiff(s):Joshua M. Seim
    • Counsel for Plaintiff: Paula Marie Jossart


  • Defendant(s): BNSF Railway Company
    • Counsel for Defendants: Daniel Allen Haws| Briana Jayne Chatelle Gornick | Krista Joan Pezewski | Roland John Wells III | Aidan Isabella Zielske

 Verdict Information

  • Verdict Date: May 7, 2024
  • Total amount awarded to plaintiff: 8,142,923.5
    • Past economic damages: $392,923.5
    • Past non-economic damages: $3,000,000
    • Future economic damages: $1,750,000
    • Future non-economic damages: $3,000,000


About the Case


On January 31, 2022, while working for BNSF Railway Company, Joshua Seim was assigned by Northtown Yard management to protect a shove movement at the Staples Yard. A shove movement in railroading involves controlling railcars being pushed by a locomotive. During this shove movement assignment, due to BNSF’s negligence, Seim was violently catapulted off the rearmost railcar, landing face down on the ground and suffering severe, permanent physical injuries.

Seim alleged BNSF’s negligence violated the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), which governs railroad workplace safety. Specifically, BNSF failed to properly control the train movement, provide a reasonably safe work environment, maintain the yard premises adequately, supply appropriate tools and equipment for railroad operations, provide proper training and supervision (particularly to the train engineer), warn of hazards, adopt safe practices for rail workers, position trains and railcars safely, implement safe operating procedures, avoid dangerous conditions, assign safe tasks and tools, and provide sufficient training, assistance, transportation, and manpower for rail employees.

In addition to the FELA claims, Seim alleged BNSF violated the Federal Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) by hauling or allowing defective, unsafe locomotives that posed unnecessary injury risks to railroad workers. He also claimed BNSF violated the Federal Safety Appliance Act (SAA) by hauling or permitting railcars with malfunctioning air brake systems on the rail line. These LIA and SAA violations contributed to Seim’s debilitating injuries from the rail incident.


Consequently, Seim sustained severe and permanent injuries to multiple parts of his body in the railyard accident. He suffered trauma to his face, including bruises, lacerations, and potential fractures. He incurred injuries to his head, such as concussions, skull fractures, or traumatic brain injuries. His neck sustained damages like whiplash, herniated discs, or cervical strains. Seim’s shoulders endured injuries such as dislocations, torn rotator cuffs, or shoulder separations. His back absorbed significant impact, potentially causing spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, or vertebral fractures. Seim’s lower extremities, including his hips, legs, knees, and feet, sustained injuries like fractures, sprains, or torn ligaments.

In addition to the injuries to his bones and joints from the railroad incident, Seim experienced extensive damage to his soft tissues. His muscles endured strains, tears, and contusions. His tissues suffered bruising, swelling, and inflammation. Seim’s internal organs may have been impacted as well, potentially causing internal bleeding or organ damage from the rail accident. He also likely suffered bruises, contusions, lacerations, and other surface wounds over various parts of his body. The injuries affected his musculoskeletal system overall, potentially causing long-term complications or disabilities for the rail worker.

Beyond the physical trauma, Seim experienced significant pain and anguish from the severe nature of his injuries in the railyard. The excruciating pain and discomfort he felt likely persisted for an extended period after the rail incident. Moreover, his injuries deprived him of the ability to enjoy many aspects of life fully, resulting in a diminished quality of life for the railroad employee. Seim faced substantial setbacks in his personal and professional life due to the limitations imposed by his injuries from the railway accident.


The plaintiff, Joshua Seim, requested the court to grant him a judgment against the defendants for a reasonable monetary amount exceeding $50,000, along with covering the associated costs and disbursements incurred in the legal proceedings for his railroad injury lawsuit. Additionally, Seim asked the court to include interest on the damages as permitted by law. He also requested the court to order BNSF to pay for his costs and disbursements related to the railroad employee injury lawsuit. Furthermore, Seim requested the court to grant him any other relief deemed appropriate and to which he may be entitled under the circumstances of this FELA rail worker injury case.

Jury Verdict

The jury determined that BNSF’s negligence played a significant role in causing Seim’s injuries. Additionally, the jury found Seim partially negligent but attributed 91% of the fault to BNSF and only 9% to Seim. As a result, the jury awarded Seim substantial damages, including $182,000 for past wage loss, $210,923.50 for past healthcare expenses, and $3,000,000 for past pain, disability, embarrassment, and emotional distress. They also allocated future damages, granting Seim $1,500,000 for loss of earning capacity, $250,000 for future healthcare expenses, and another $3,000,000 for future pain, disability, embarrassment, and emotional distress.

Court Documents:


Jury Verdict