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Texas railroad worker wins West Nile negligence case

Posted On: Jun. 7, 2015 12:00 AM CST

Alleging that he contracted the West Nile virus and enceph-alitis on the job in 2008, Texas railroad worker William R. Nami sued Union Pacific Railroad Co. under the Federal Employers' Liability Act for failing to provide a safe workplace.

Mr. Nami testified that he would have worn long sleeves and used insect repellent had he known of the West Nile threat while working outdoors in Brazoria County, Texas. He also testified he rarely spent time outdoors while off the job.

During the trial, daughter Sarah Nami testified that her father had “not been the same since” contracting West Nile, causing him to become very weak and forgetful. A jury found Union Pacific 80% negligent and Mr. Nami 20% negligent, awarding damages totaling $940,000, according to records.

Last August, a Texas appellate court affirmed the judgment, ruling that “the evidence at trial was legally sufficient to establish that (Mr. Nami) probably contracted West Nile virus at his worksite.”