Attorney: Richard Shapiro
Paralegal: Rosalyn Hughes
Legal Assistant: Meg Cudden
Investigator: Herb Wooten
Where: Knoxville, TN
Rick's client was a railroad worker brakeman/switchman who lost his life to lung cancer following a five year battle, after being exposed to asbestos, diesel fumes, and radiation during his 40 year career as a brakeman/switchman with L & N/CSX, mainly in and around Knoxville, TN. The switchman also worked on asbestos-laden locomotives and inhaled diesel exhaust on switching engines for decades.
The Knoxville jury trial (Winston Payne Estate v. CSXT) lasted about two weeks and the jury deliberated for a full day, before returning their $8.6 million verdict, which is what Rick asked for in his closing statement.
CSXT offered no more than $250,000 to settle the case, and argued that cigarette smoking was the sole cause of his cancer and that there was no valid evidence of the amount or dose of radioactive contamination, asbestos, or diesel exhaust during his work.
Rick offered 16 witnesses including the treating oncologist, a cancer specialist, epidemiologist, nuclear physicist, industrial hygienists and many factual witnesses. The railroad called numerous opposing industrial hygienists and doctors.
Rick worked on the case for over four years to get justice for his client, and now his surviving widow, and the verdict illustrates Rick's commitment to achieving results, even in complicated occupational disease cases that other attorneys would not accept at the outset.
CSX appealed this jury verdict. During late June, 2015, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued a 47 page written opinion affirming the original jury verdict that CSX exposed Winston Payne to asbestos, radioactive uranium and plutonium, and diesel fumes, and that CSX was legally responsible for causing his lung cancer. The Court ruled that a new jury trial is necessary solely to determine his legal damages for the 4 ½ years of suffering he endured and the Estate is now seeking 15 Million Dollars for these harms.