On March 12, the West Virginia Supreme Court made a unanimous decision to reverse an earlier ruling that released Norfolk Southern Railroad Co from liability in a mesothelioma wrongful death case. The previous decision hinged on a separation agreement signed by the the deceased train engineer, Sparrell Ratliff. However, that agreement was found void under the Federal Employer's Liability Act.
A provision of this act prohibits railroads from trying to exempt themselves from liability. The agreement signed by Ratliff was just that as it released the railroad from all claims, known or otherwise. Ratliff died in July 2005, just three months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. The wrongful death case was filed shortly thereafter, and now the railroad is being held accountable for Ratliff's mesothelioma.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact the West Virginia mesothelioma attorneys of Williams Kherkher at 800-781-3955.