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Latest Star Tribune “News” Story About 17-year-old Case Misleads Readers Again

Business Wire- 12/6/2010 6:44:00 PM EST

Latest Star Tribune News Story About 17-year-old Case Misleads Readers Again

( BW)(TX-BNSF-RAILWAY)(.) Latest Star Tribune News Story About 17-year-old Case Misleads Readers Again

BNSF Railway today expressed concern that the second installment of the Minneapolis Star Tribunes series on the railroad continues the newspaper's pattern of false and distorted reporting evident in the Star Tribunes previous coverage of the company. In today's report, the Star Tribune uses a 17-year-old case, in which BNSF was found to have zero percent culpability to suggest that a judge's criticisms of BNSF had some validity despite the fact that that same judge reversed himself and then recused himself.

BNSF has posted additional information on its website,, about the Mann case, which was the topic of the Star Tribunes coverage today. The full record of the case clearly shows that BNSF made no attempt to deceive the court or jury.

BNSF believes the loss of any life is tragic, said John Ambler, BNSF vice president, corporate relations. We feel for the Mann familys loss, but no ones interests are served by distorting the facts and findings of the judge and jury. Not only did the first judge retract his ruling and recuse himself, but the same demonstrative exhibit was used in the second trial without objection or controversy. Despite a finding of zero fault by BNSF, we settled with the Mann family to help them deal with their loss.

In its reporting, the Star Tribune consistently fails to provide important facts and information to its readers. As one example, in the Dec. 6 story, the Star Tribune misled readers to believe that the railroad sued the Mann family for damages. This is absolutely not the case. In fact, the railroad offered a settlement to the Mann family before the family decided to file a lawsuit. Even after being sued, the railroad stipulated that no recovery from the family would take place. Rather, the railroad stipulated only that, if Mr. Manns estate recovered any damages, those damages would be offset by damages owed to BNSF for property destroyed in the accident, which the jury concluded was due to Mr. Manns negligence.

The public deserves to know the full truth -- that the Star Tribune has not told its readers the whole story, said Ambler. The Star Tribune chose not to tell its readers that, in fact, the subsequent trial judge wrote an opinion stating that the signal could have been run through a car wash with no harm since it was only a demonstrative aid. The Star Tribune also chose not to tell its readers that, in fact, when the actual distant signal was still in place, plaintiffs attorney went to the scene and inspected it many times and took many photos and videos of the distant signal from every angle.

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About BNSF

About BNSF Railway is one of North America's leading freight transportation companies operating on 32,000 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. BNSF offers broad access to the North American market through five US-Mexico Gateways and five US-Canada Gateways. BNSF is one of the top transporters of consumer goods, grain, industrial goods and low-sulfur coal that help feed, clothe, supply, and power American homes and businesses every day. BNSF and its employees have developed one of the most technologically advanced, and efficient railroads in the industry. And we are working continuously to improve the value of the safety, service, energy, and environmental benefits we provide to our customers and the communities we serve. You can learn more about BNSF at


BNSF Railway
John Ambler, 817-867-6407

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