Missouri Rancher Blames Railroad Company for Cattle Deaths, Sues BNSF

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. ( BNSF Railway Company )

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.

Submitted by Special Ed on Tue, 09/18/2018 - 21:42

Go get the SOB's. Hold the big companys feet to the fire and get all you can get. They think they are above the law and not liable for any of there negligent actions. GOOD LUCK.

Submitted by Anthony Sloan on Wed, 09/19/2018 - 09:15

Good luck with the lawsuit. I too have had a long list of grievances with BNSF, whose tracks intersect our farm with a creek which also intersects our farm and have had frequent floods due to their bridge being too small, gets jammed with trees, and backs up the water. In a major flood 5 years ago, there was roughly 2 feet of fall in creek level going through the bridge, as a result the creek changed course onto their property in which they spent millions forcing the creek back onto ours, but not a dime on relieving the flood by giving the water more room to get through. When I questioned about BNSF diverting the creek flow back onto my property, their contractor told me the Army Corp of Engineers determines what the natural waterway should be to which I replied, No, God and the creek determines where it wants to go, the Corp of Engineers tries to keep it from going there.

BNSF and their contractors have invited themselves onto and have damaged crops and private property and left it unrepaired. When I called them about tearing up our private road, their response was they were pulling out my and the neighbor's crossing unless a sign a financially onerous agreement with their property managers. The crossings has been there probably dating back to 1887 when the railroad originally split the farm.
Recently, BNSF has become a little more cooperative but their property managers still seem exceedingly greedy upon property owners affected by the railroad, once they find out who you are.