Appeals Court Upholds $3M Judgment in Columbia Falls Man’s Case Against BNSF

A federal appeals court on June 22 upheld a Montana judge’s 2019 order awarding $3.1 million to a Columbia Falls man who sued BNSF Railway for wrongful termination after he was injured on the job.

The case involves Zachary Wooten, who sued BNSF in 2016 alleging the company violated the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA), the Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) and the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) by firing him after he was injured in the Whitefish rail yard in July 2015. The Federal Railroad Safety Act is a long-standing federal law that was amended in 2007 to protect whistleblowers and those injured on the job.