Considering she’s a solo practitioner with just one dedicated paralegal, Paula Jossart has had an impressive year in three cases involving BNSF Railway Co. — and she’s already gearing up to stay just as focused and busy in the year ahead.
All three cases were brought under the Federal Employers Liability Act in state court, and involved litigants who felt BNSF was responsible for harm. In Kowalewski v. BNSF, which involved inhalation of toxic gas at a BNSF railyard, Jossart’s client was awarded over $15 million, with additional financial sanctions awarded in 2019 by the Court of Appeals.
The district court awarded sanctions of nearly $6 million against BNSF for discovery abuses and the Minnesota Court of Appeals determined that the judge was within her discretion to do so based on all the evidence.
“What I brought most to these cases was a lot of fight,” said Jossart. “That’s who I’ve always been, ever since I was a kid, someone who stands up for the underdog, someone who understands what’s right.” Each of these cases had been in progress for years, she added, and to have all three wrap up at about the same time was meaningful. Despite the success of 2019, Jossart has not slowed down.
“I have a lot more people to help and we really didn’t even take a breath to celebrate,” she said. “These cases take a lot of work and we just have to keep plowing ahead.”
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2019 here.
Gain access to all of our great content with a month-to-month subscription. Start your subscription here.