Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Norvell v. BNSF Railway Co.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

December 19, 2019

JAMES T. NORVELL, Plaintiff,
v.
BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S PROPOSED SPECIAL VERDICT FORM

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on the parties' briefs regarding Defendant BNSF Railway Company's (“BNSF”) proposed special verdict form. Dkts. 127, 128.

         I. PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On August 29, 2017, Plaintiff James Norvell (“Norvell”) filed a complaint against BNSF asserting a claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy and a claim for intentional infliction of emotion distress (commonly referred to as “outrage”). Dkt. 1.

         On July 9, 2019, BNSF filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 50. On August 21, 2019, the Court granted the motion in part and denied the motion in part. Dkt. 64 (“SJ Order”). In relevant part, the Court limited Norvell's claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy to the single theory of taking swift action to prevent immediate death or injury. Id. at 9-10. Under this theory, the Court concluded that Norvell had submitted sufficient evidence to meet his burdens under the burden shifting framework for analyzing such claims on summary judgment. Id. at 9-13 (citing Martin v. Gonzaga Univ., 191 Wn.2d 712 (2018); Thompson v. St. Regis Paper Co., 102 Wn.2d 219, 232-33 (1984)).

         On August 27, 2019, the parties filed materials in preparation for trial. Each party filed jury instructions in a manner that does not comply with the local rules. See Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 51(e)-(f) (parties shall file one set of agreed instructions and one set of disputed instructions). Because the parties submitted some identical proposed instructions, it is unclear whether they met and conferred before filing any of the trial materials. On November 12, 2019, BNSF filed a proposed special verdict form that provides in relevant part as follows:

1. Did Plaintiff James Norvell prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his actions on July 13, 2015 were in performance of public duty or obligation?
___ Yes ___ No
2. Did Plaintiff James Norvell prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his public-policy linked conduct was a substantial factor motivating his termination of employment?
___ Yes ___ No
3. Do you find that Defendant BNSF had an overriding justification for termination Plaintiff James Norvell's employment?
___ Yes ___ No
4. Do you find that Defendant BNSF proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Plaintiff James Norvell failed to mitigate ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.