After five long years in the appeals process, the Tennessee Supreme Court recently ordered a new damages trial against CSX Railroad in the wrongful death of 41-year employee Winston Payne. Payne diagnosed and eventually killed by lung cancer after being exposed to toxic chemicals for his virtually entire career at one of the nation’s largest transportation suppliers.
The new trial is solely on the basis of monetary damages; therefore CSX will not be able to argue any liability issues. In 2010, the original jury awarded $8.6 million dollars to Mr. Payne’s widow, Anne. However, Judge Harold Wimberly felt the verdict was too high since Payne was a smoker (although he had quit 15 years prior to his illness) and issued that the jury re-visit the verdict. The amount was then lowered to $3.2 million.
Later the case was bumped to Judge Workman, who threw the case out altogether!
As Knoxville legal blogger Jamie Satterfield so eloquently and humorously puts it:
“Judges are not gods, though there’s a few out there who think they are. They’re just humans forced to wear starchy, drab black robes and pretend to be all-knowing about all things. So it comes as no surprise – to me, at least – that two of our (now retired) Knox County Circuit Court judges bungled a wrongful death case.”
Our very own Knoxville attorney Sid Gilreath, founder of Gilreath & Associates, worked diligently in this case against CSX. He fought to prove that CSX was negligent by exposing Mr. Payne to plutonium and enriched uranium, as well as asbestos and diesel exhaust fumes, without adequate protection. This exposure caused him to endure 43 round of chemotherapy, 44 radiation treatments and ultimately his death.
In the end, Sid and the plaintiff proved that Mr. Payne suffered tremendously for four and a half years before his lung cancer illness caused his death.
In July 2015, Justice Gary R. Wade delivered the 47-page opinion that the trial will be reheard and is set for late 2015 or early 2016. For detailed information regarding this case, read here.
Sid Gilreath is an experienced railroad and toxic injury attorney who stands committing to fighting for the rights of Tennesseans, just as he did for Mr. Payne and his widow. If you have lost a family member due to negligence on the part of a railroad company or any other institution that you believe is responsible for a wrongful death, contact us today for a free consultation.