CASE: Darrell Nestor v. Union Pacific Railroad Company
CLAIM: Nestor claims carpal tunnel from mechanics gloves in Denver repair shop
Pretrial offer: $20,000
Last offer before verdict: $100,000
Gross Verdict: $1,150,000.00
WHAT HAPPENED: Darrell Nestor is a carman who hired on with UPRR in 2008. He performed routine car repairs and track inspections until 2013 when the UPRR first implemented its mandatory mechanics gloves. The carmen complained early and often about the tight fit, awkward and uncomfortable use so frequently that the UPRR eventually discontinued the gloves. The complaints were documented in safety meetings and daily safety briefings so that a written record or notice of the unsafe condition existed.
About twelve months later the UPRR once again attempted to implement a system wide mandatory glove program for all shop crafts including the repair facility in Denver. And once again, these gloves proved to be a poor fit for Mr. Nestor who complained to the nursing staff, his supervisors, and at safety briefings.
The UPRR, which invested $100,000’s to develop and distribute these gloves, was again slow to react to the complaints. Despite promises to Mr. Nestor that he would be given proper fitting gloves, none were made available to him and his carpal tunnel condition grew worse. He sought medical care, tried injections, medications and therapy. Ultimately, he required surgery which in the end disabled him from returning to full-time carman work.
The case was hotly defended by the UPRR who brought in a stable of experts and special trial counsel in an attempt to win the case. Jim Vucinovich represented Mr. Nestor, and successfully convinced the jury to award a huge amount for his carpal tunnel. Key to winning the case was the existence of DOCUMENTED PRIOR COMPLAINTS, and the willingness of Mr. Nestor’s CO-WORKERS TO COME TO TRIAL and back up those complaints.
On July 27, 2017, a six-person jury returned the verdict for Mr. Nestor after deliberating about 4-5 hours. After reducing the award by 40% for comparative fault, Mr. Nestor won $690,000.00. This is reported to be one of the highest jury awards in Denver County for 2017.