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Kasel v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.

Supreme Court of Nebraska

June 26, 2015

JOHN A. KASEL, APPELLEE,
v.
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, APPELLANT, AND LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, INTERVENOR-APPELLEE

Appeal from the District Court for Scotts Bluff County: RANDALL L. LIPPSTREU, Judge.

Walter J. Downing, of Hall & Evans, L.L.C., for appellant.

Andrew W. Snyder, of Chaloupka, Holyoke, Snyder, Chaloupka, Longoria & Kishiyama, P.C., L.L.O., for appellee.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, MCCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 735

[291 Neb. 227] Connolly, J.

SUMMARY

John A. Kasel sustained injuries at a motel while he was an employee of Union Pacific Railroad Company (Union Pacific). Kasel sued Union Pacific and the motel. After the parties settled, Union Pacific asserted a contractual right of subrogation to the extent of medical payments made on Kasel's behalf by a third-party administrator. The contract in question created a lien or right of reimbursement if a third party is liable, but not if Union Pacific is liable. The court held that Union Pacific did not have a lien or right of reimbursement

Page 736

because it was party to the settlement. We also conclude that Union Pacific is a liable party under the settlement. We therefore affirm.

BACKGROUND

Parties

Kasel, an engineer, stayed at an Oak Tree Inn in Wyoming, while on duty for Union Pacific in October 2009. Union Pacific contracted with Oak Tree Inn to provide overnight lodging for its employees. Kasel sustained injuries when the bottom of the bathtub in his room gave way.

In January 2010, Kasel sued Union Pacific and Oak Tree Inn. Count I of the complaint alleged that Union Pacific was negligent and liable for his injuries under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA). Count II alleged that Oak Tree Inn negligently failed to provide a ...


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