Minnesota Jury Awards $8 Million to Canadian Pacific Railway Conductor

Minneapolis: The Hunegs LeNeave & Kvas trial team of Paul Banker, Josh Miller, and Randy LeNeave obtained a $8 million dollar jury verdict in Minnesota state court for Ryan Torbenson, a Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) conductor.  Judge David Piper presided.  After 4 ½ days of trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict, finding CP 100% negligent after only 1 hr. 45 minutes of deliberation.

Mr. Torbenson was injured in 2018 when he was ordered by a supervisor to remove a defective end of train device (EOT) from 75 cars left on a pass track outside CP’s yard in Glenwood, MN.  When he attempted to carry out the yardmaster’s instructions, with his hands positioned the way CP trained him to do it, the EOT unexpectedly released after roughly 3 cranks – surprising Torbenson.  He lost his footing on the mainline ballast on the pass track when the device released early, and he instinctively tried to grab it.  The EOT fell and smashed Torbenson’s left hand between the EOT and the top of the coupler.

In closing, CP lawyers argued that the railroad wasn’t negligent, and that Mr. Torbenson was the sole cause of the injury.  They contended that the damages amount was — at best — $20,000.  CP suggested that Torbenson was exaggerating his injury and disability. He didn’t have CRPS until his doctor performed surgery 6 months after the incident, and was sitting around waiting on the “money clock” for his litigation to be over.  The jury emphatically rejected CP’s representations and personal attacks while returning a verdict that fairly compensated Mr. Torbenson for his injuries.