Missouri Rancher Blames Railroad Company for Cattle Deaths, Sues BNSF

September 18, 2018 02:28 PM
The BNSF Railway Company is being sued by a rancher after more than 50 cattle went missing and died following flooding that is being blamed on a railroad berm.

A rancher in southern Missouri has filed a lawsuit against a train company following the deaths of numerous cattle after more than 50 head went missing from flood waters he blames on the railroad.

Randy Hoover and Sons, LLC, of West Plains, Mo., is suing the BNSF Railway Company following the disappearance and deaths of cattle on land that runs adjacent to a railroad, according to KY3 News in Springfield.

The lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that BNSF did not provide adequate drainage for surface water and that the company has failed to maintain fencing on the railroad right-of-way, a requirement by law.

According to the lawsuit in April 2017, historic floods happened on land where Hoover was grazing approximately 350 head of cattle. The railroad sits on a berm next to the pasture and Hoover alleges that it dams up flood waters. This caused fence to be damaged letting some cattle loose and in some instances drowned cattle.

The lawsuit indicates that 25-30 steers and 25-30 cow had left the land when the fence was damaged. Hoover claims that some cattle were hit by BNSF trains and others died of dehydration after leaving the pasture.

Flood waters washed gravel from the railroad onto the pasture, Hoover alleges that it has killed grass and poses a risk to his remaining cattle.

Fencing has been fixing the fence at his own expense and claims there has been no maintenance or upkeep by BNSF in the past 20 years.

Hoover has tried reaching the train company numerous times since the incident occurred, but he has not heard from BNSF representatives according to court documents.

In a letter sent to BNSF by Hoover he states that he has concerns about more cattle getting out because there are roughly 1,600 acres of corn planted nearby.

BNSF has until September 22 to respond to the allegations.

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