Judge Awards Families Additional $4M For Railroad's Misconduct

KARE 11October 16, 2009

This week, the families of the four young adults who died when a freight train slammed into their car, were awarded $4 million when a Washington County judge ruled the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company tried to cover up evidence during the trial.

In that trial, which ended a year ago, a jury awarded the families $21 million and placed 90 percent of the blame for the crash on Burlington Northern. The additional $4 million is a sanction against the railroad for what Judge Ellen Maas called "staggering" misconduct during the trial.

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Judge: Railroad engaged in 'staggering' pattern of misconduct

Star Tribune, by Paul LevyOctober 15, 2009

William Bongard represented the family of one of the four teens killed in a train crossing accident in 2003.

When the families and their attorneys took the case to trial, a jury awarded them $21.6 million in damages. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation appealed that decision and refused to pay.

Then the attorneys for the families filed sanctions against the railroad, to punish them for their attempts to cover up their responsibility for the accident; because the crossing gate wasn't working properly and because they destroyed evidence, fabricated evidence, interfered with the investigation and lied.

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Request For $45 Million Award In Anoka Train Accident Goes Before Judge

Star Tribune, by Paul LevyApril 21, 2009

The verdict of $21.6 million to the families of four young adults killed in a 2003 train-car accident was among the largest wrongful-death awards ever in Minnesota.

But the case is bigger than that, the families' attorneys said Tuesday. Maybe $45 million bigger. Claiming that Burlington Northern Santa Fe fabricated, destroyed and withheld evidence that prevented the families from recovering punitive damages, the families' lawyers asked a Washington County judge for sanctions against the railroad of $45 million or more.

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$24 Million Train Accident Verdict

Minnesota Lawyer, by Jane PribekMarch 01, 2009

It's extremely gratifying to garner a $6 million verdict for the family of someone who died due to the negligence of someone else. But, the best part is knowing that an opponent who chose to ignore the rules is facing tough sanctions.

So say a group of five Twin Cities lawyers who represented four families following their children's deaths after a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company ("BNSF") train crashed into their car on Sept. 26, 2003.

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Families Send $24 Million Message To Railroad

Star Tribune, by Rochelle Olson and Lora PabstJune 14, 2008

The families of four young adults killed in a horrific train-car accident nearly five years ago were awarded $24 million by an Anoka County District Court jury that rejected earlier suggestions the victims had tried to beat a train to the crossing.

In its ruling, the jury determined Burlington Northern Santa Fe was 90 percent responsible for the crash and the driver was 10 percent responsible, said Bill Bongard, who represented the Rhoades family of Blaine.

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Client Reviews

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Deb Colombe

I was involved in a car accident that was complicated at best. God blessed with me Eric Beyer as my attorney. Although it was a long drawn out process between the two insurance companies, Eric was not only my attorney, he was my rock.

Eric is one of the most ethical people I have ever met in my lifetime. He was a constant source of not only information, but of comfort throughout the whole process. I never doubted for one moment that Eric did not have my best interest at heart. He took every word I said seriously and did what he had to do. If I ever have the misfortune of another injury like this, I would go to no one other than Eric Beyer. I will never in my lifetime be able to thank Eric enough or let him know how much I respect him and what a comfort he was and has continued to be for me. God Bless you Eric Beyer.

Chris and Amy Boys

We worked with Art and his team on a personal injury case. We could not have been more pleased with the result. Art and his team were both professional and personable, and were a pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend Art and his team if you find yourself in this type of situation.

Jesse Bukal

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They took my case to trial and an amazing job presenting the facts and fighting for my best interests! Three years ago I was unsure of what my future would bring; now that it's over I can rest a bit easier. With SiebenCarey as my counsel, I believe I had the absolute BEST representation a person could've asked for. I knew that I wanted the absolute best representation when searching for an attorney to handle my case and I most definitely received it.

If you need a personal injury attorney, look no further. Can't recommend highly enough.

Daunne Schaller

I was seriously injured in a car accident on my wedding night and went to SiebenCarey. Being involved in an accident is never fun. The folks at SiebenCarey got us thru the event helping us get on with our lives. They were up front and honest. We knew we could trust them. It’s clear to me why Art has been recognized as a Best Lawyer in America and Super Lawyer for 12 years running. Now anytime I know someone who was involved in an accident I refer them to SiebenCarey.

Jeanne Tondryk

Eric W. Beyer helped me through a very difficult time and his professionalism, advice and results from an injury were highly respected. Amidst the personal part of getting myself back to health, his guidance when life was blurry was so appreciated. He listened and then put forth my options honestly and directly which I totally appreciated!

 Was totally satisfied with his hard work and dedication to help me. I'd highly recommend him. Thank you Eric!

Andrea Long

I reached out to SiebenCarey after a partial amputation of my foot following an accident. Art took on my case and without question it was the best decision I ever made. He and his staff did an amazing job and were extremely helpful. I felt like I not only gained an attorney to work on my case, but also a friend & family within those I spoke & dealt with in the office. Going through the legal process can be an agonizing and slow process, especially in the age of COVID. In the end Art presented all the facts and helped me make an informed decision. Understanding I had to decide whether to settle or go to trial, I ultimately chose to settle and couldn’t be more pleased. If I could give Art 20 stars I would.

Rich Huth

Eric Beyer is the best!!! Definitely above a five star rating.

Heather Beal

When someone asks me to refer them to a personal injury lawyer, I immediately give them Jim Carey’s name and contact information at SiebenCarey in Minneapolis. Jim is more than a top-rated, expert personal injury attorney, he is an empathetic and compassionate listener. He sees people, not simply case files. He has represented my friends well by sincerely caring about the immediate and lasting effects that injuries from car accidents, negligence or other circumstances have had on their lives.

Sean Beggs

I was referred to SiebenCarey by a friend after I was involved in a bicycle accident. Jim Carey represented me and throughout the process I was never anxious about the case because he and his team were in constant communication. I knew where we stood and the course of action we were taking which gave me peace of mind throughout my recovery. Everyone I encountered at SiebenCarey from the first phone call until the final resolution treated my case as if it were top priority and they did so respectfully, professionally, and achieved results beyond my expectations. It was a pleasurable experience during a difficult time.

Jody Draper

I have had very long trying Workman's Compensation injury case and Eric Beyer and his assistant Rita Cerny have been totally amazing!! Always so informative and helpful!!

I strongly recommend using Eric as your advocate and personal lawyer!! You will not be disappointed!! Thank you Eric and Rita!! I could not of done this without you!!!

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