On March 21, 2017, local attorney, C. Nicholas Cronauer, along with his trial team obtained a five million three hundred thousand ($5,300,000) jury verdict against Metra Railroad for an injured railroad worker after a 5 1⁄2 week long jury trial. The Federal Employers Labor Act (“FELA”) lawsuit was filed in Cook County state court. The jury trial was held at the Daley Center Courthouse in downtown Chicago from February 14, 2017, through March 21, 2017. Over 40 depositions were completed before trial during the discovery process, and the case was tried to a successful verdict in less than three (3) years. Metra contested the case vigorously.
During closing argument, Metra’s lawyer told jurors, “I want you to know before I sit down I don’t agree with these guys about anything as it relates to this case.” Metra asked the jury to award $0 due to its dispute of every fact in the case.
The trial proved that Metra violated the Locomotive Inspection Act and Passenger Equipment Safety Standards that required Metra to keep its locomotive and passenger cars free from slipping and tripping hazards including oil, snow and ice. Traditional worker’s compensation does not cover railroad employees, requiring railroad employees to file a FELA civil in order for a worker to recover their damages from a job-related injury. Attorneys Brett Emison and Ken Barnes, of Kansas City Missouri, and Tim Ocasak of Chicago Illinois, were all a part of the trial team. The result was a true team effort thanks to the invaluable help of numerous people and staff that assisted the trial team.