On Feb. 11, 2008, a jury in the 96th Judicial District Court of Tarrant County, Texas returned a verdict finding that Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway Company (BNSF) was not responsible for the plaintiff’s stomach cancer. Linda Faust alleged that her illness was caused by toxic chemicals from her husband’s workplace at a railroad tie factory in Somerville, Texas.
She alleged that she was exposed to coal-tar creosote when she washed her husband’s work clothes and she sought at least $6 million in damages. In the month-long trial, defense attorneys argued that plaintiff had presented no scientifically reliable evidence, and that Ms. Faust’s cancer had been caused by her smoking and by Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Numerous other lawsuits by Somerville residents are pending against BNSF and against Koppers Inc., the current owner of the Somerville factory.