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Jury Awards Nearly $1 Million To West Nile Victim

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CUERO (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A Texas jury has awarded nearly $1 million to a Union Pacific worker who sued the railroad after claiming he was infected with West Nile virus while on the job.

A DeWitt County jury on Thursday found Union Pacific partially liable for Billy Nami contracting the virus in 2008. His attorney, Michael Sheppard, says Nami was sent to work in a grassy, swampy area along the Texas coast swarming with bugs after Hurricane Ike.

Sheppard says Nami was never warned about the presence of West Nile and wasn’t given repellant. Sheppard says jurors assigned 80 percent of the negligence to Union Pacific.

The jury awarded the 62-year-old Nami $980,000 in damages.

Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza said the Omaha, Neb.-based railroad was disappointed by the verdict and plans to appeal.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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