Appeals Court rules in 2007 railroad chemical leak in Kansas

Two railroad workers exposed to chemicals in a 2007 Burlington Northern Santa Fe train incident near Ottawa, Kansas have won their case with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

The Appeals court reversed a lower court ruling against Larry D. Lincoln and Brad C. Mosbrucker who were partially and permanently disabled after being exposed to 2-chlorobenzyl chloride when it leaked and forced the evacuation of 30 homes in eastern Kansas.

They were among 12 BNSF employees exposed to the chemical as the train traveled through Osage and Coffey counties on Oct. 9, 2007. The leak came from a seam in a tank car which was traeling from California to Kansas City, Kansas.

Lincoln and Mosbrucker were Maintenance of Way workers who did outdoor work. After being injured, each applied for more than 20 jobs within BNSF during the four years following their removal from service. They were denied several positions then filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and complaints with the Occupational Safety Health Administration. When BNSF rejected their applications, the two also filed claims for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and retaliation under the ADA.

The appeals court reversed the district court’s rulings and sent the case back.