Judge: Railroad engaged in 'staggering' pattern of misconduct
To punish the railroad, which allegedly began destroying evidence within minutes of the 2003 accident, Judge Ellen Maas awarded $4 million to the victims' families and their attorneys. The award comes on top of $21.6 million from a jury that placed 90 percent of the blame for the accident on Burlington Northern.
"When encountering conduct as egregious as that of BNSF, this court ... has a duty to impose sanctions of a sufficient severity in order to deter future misconduct of the same caliber,'' Maas ruled.
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