A massive jury verdict finding the railroad company CSX liable for causing a former employee’s lung cancer will stand, but CSX is entitled to a new trial on the damages awarded to the employee’s widow, the Supreme Court of Tennessee has held.
Between 1962 and 2003, Winston Payne worked for CSX Transportation as a switchman, a switch foreman, and a brakeman. Less than three years after he retired, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. In 2007, Mr. Payne filed a lawsuit against CSX both under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act and based on a common law negligence theory, alleging that CSX had negligently exposed him to asbestos, diesel engine exhaust fumes, and radioactive materials, and further alleging that CSX had violated several statutes and regulations designed to protect the safety of railroad employees. According to Mr. Payne, all of these failures contributed to his developing lung cancer.
In contrast, CSX contended that Mr. Payne had instead developed lung cancer due to his history of cigarette smoking. Furthermore, CSX contended if the jury decided to award damages to Mr. Payne based upon its negligence, then any damages award should be reduced by virtue of the impact of Mr. Payne’s cigarette smoking. Mr. Payne died from lung cancer in 2010, and his widow continued the lawsuit in his place.
During the trial, the late Mr. Payne’s legal team Continue reading Jury’s verdict that CSX was liable for negligently causing a former employee’s lung cancer will stand, but CSX is entitled to a new trial addressing damages, holds Tennessee Supreme Court.