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2024 Montana Primary elections

BNSF Railway appeals asbestos trial verdict, putting another trial on hold

A BNSF freight train.
Frank Morris
A BNSF freight train.

BNSF Railway is appealing a recent jury trial that awarded two families $4 million each for health issues stemming from asbestos contamination. The appeal has put another trial on hold.

A federal jury in April found the two families in the case could hold BNSF liable for health complications tied to asbestos contamination along the railway’s tracks in Libby.

A similar case was set to go to trial in Missoula this week. But according to court documents, District Court Judge Dana Christiansen agreed with BNSF’s request to put it on hold while an appeal on the first case goes forward.

In court documents the railways said its appeal of the jury ruling last month to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could impact the Missoula trial.

BNSF declined to comment on the appeal.

There are over 350 active claims against BNSF related to alleged health impacts from asbestos contamination, according to McGarvey Law, which is handling the majority of claims against the railroad.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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