Stephen Fitzgerald wins First Circuit Appeal, Confirming Maximium Punitive Damages Award for Railroad Worker Subjected to Retaliation

Apr 21 2017

A federal appeals court has affirmed that Pan Am Railways, Inc. must pay $260,000 in punitive and compensatory damages to a railroad worker who was subjected to retaliation after filing a Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) whistleblower complaint.

The employee, who was represented by Stephen J. Fitzgerald, was charged by the railroad with dishonesty in connection with his FRSA complaint after the employee tried to report an injury to OSHA. After OSHA ordered the railroad to pay the injured employee $10,000 in compensatory damages and $40,000 in punitive damages, Pan Am Railways appealed. In 2014, an administrative law judge upheld the agency’s finding of retaliation and increased the punitive damages to $250,000.

The railroad appealed again to the department’s Administrative Review Board, which affirmed the judge’s order. Then, Pan Am Railways appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit which denied the railroad’s petition.

Click here to read the PDF of the final order

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