Joseph M. Sayler

Joseph M. Sayler

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Transportation & Maritime Attorney in Anoka, MN

Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm
 | 2150 Third Ave. N, Suite 350
Anoka, MN 55303
Phone: 763-406-7000
Fax: 763-208-3607
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2019
Selected to Rising Stars: 2014 - 2018
Licensed Since: 2008
Practice Areas:
  • Transportation/Maritime (50%),
  • Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff (50%)
Attorney Profile

Joe aggressively represents seriously injured individuals and their families, primarily in North Dakota and Minnesota.  Joe is sought after, by both individuals and attorneys from other states, for highly specialized cases such as those harmed by railroads, liquor establishments, medical providers, and toxic products such as asbestos.   Joe represents people in serious injury claims, such as those suffering from traumatic brain injuries, amputations, and severe burns. 

While he primarily represents individuals in Minnesota and North Dakota (where he is from), Joe has litigated cases in twenty-four states with a great deal of success, including several record settlements and verdicts, including extensive experience litigating railroad injury and wrongful death cases across the country.  He has been named a Super Lawyer for personal injury litigation and is licensed in North Dakota and Minnesota. 

Joe also teaches torts (including personal injury) to law students at William Mitchell College of Law.  He has been asked to author several professional articles about important legal issues by law reviews and other prestigious publications.  

Joe has been involved in many large verdicts and settlements in Minnesota.  This includes a judgement of $21.1 million dollars for a severely injured railroad worker, the largest such verdict in Minnesota history and one of the largest nation-wide.  In a landmark railroad case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Joe authored an amicus curiae brief that was twice cited by Justice Ginsburg in her majority opinion.    

Joe has also volunteered with the Pet Project Rescue, Volunteer Lawyers Network, the Minnesota State Bar Association – Civic Education Committee, the American Red Cross, and in New Orleans on behalf of Hurricane Katrina victims. 

White Papers

  • Ferry Street Revisited:  Train Accidents, Railroad Misconduct, And Sanctions A Decade After Chase v. BNSF, Anoka County Bar Association, 2017 Reconsidering Train v. Pedestrian Lawsuits, Winter 2017, American Association For Justice Hamline Law Review, 2012 Mischief Makers Beware: Minnesota Courts’ Broad Power To Sanction Misconduct In The Wake of Frazier v. BNSF Minnesota Trial Journal, Spring 2011 Who Sanctioned This?!: The Inherent Power of Minnesota’s Courts to Sanction William Mitchell Law Review, 2009 The Legacy of the 9/11 Fund and the Minnesota I-35W Bridge-Collapse Fund: Creating a Template for Compensating Victims of Future Mass-Tort Catastrophes Collateral Consequences Team, 2009 Forthcoming White Paper to be presented to the Minnesota Legislature concerning collateral consequences for individuals introduced to the criminal justice system William Mitchell College of Law, November 2010 Creating Connections: Getting a Job, Getting a Client, or Just Getting Noticed Contributing author of The Minnesota Evidence Desk Book

  • About Joseph Sayler

    Admitted: 2008, Minnesota

    Professional Webpage: http://www.bolthoffer.com/our-people/attorneys/joseph-sayler...

    Honors/Awards:

    • Member, Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Licensed in Minnesota State and Federal Courts.
    • Licensed in North Dakota State and Federal Courts.

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    •   American Association For Justice, 2017,Reconsidering Train Versus Pedestrian Lawsuits:Today, pedestrians being killed on railroad rights-of-way is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in America. While crossing accidents have long highlighted the need for safety improvements, more pedestrians are killed in non-crossing accidents than are in motor-vehicle crossing accidents. Nationally, more than 500 pedestrian fatalities occur each year, and nearly as many are injured. Hamline Law Review, 2012Mischief Makers Beware: Minnesota Courts’ Broad Power To Sanction Misconduct In The Wake of Frazier v. BNSF Minnesota Trial Journal, Spring 2011Who Sanctioned This?!: The Inherent Power of Minnesota’s Courts to SanctionWilliam Mitchell Law Review, 2009The Legacy of the 9/11 Fund and the Minnesota I-35W Bridge-Collapse Fund: Creating a Template for Compensating Victims of Future Mass-Tort CatastrophesCollateral Consequences Team, 2009Forthcoming White Paper to be presented to the Minnesota Legislature concerning collateral consequences for individuals introduced to the criminal justice systemWilliam Mitchell College of Law, November 2010Creating Connections: Getting a Job, Getting a Client, or Just Getting Noticed
    • Joe teaches torts (including personal injury) to law students at William Mitchell College of Law. He has been asked to author several professional articles on important legal issues by law reviews and other prestigious publications., Adjunct Professor

    Verdicts/Settlements:

    • 15,343,753 verdict to a railroad worker for severe and progressive neurological injuries he suffered while working in a BNSF railroad yard in 2014. The accident happened when BNSF mishandled tanker cars carrying toxic petrochemicals in the railyard, causing the cars to vent poisonous gas where the man was working. The cars were being hauled through the BNSF Northtown Yard in Minneapolis on their way to Canada. The worker experienced serious neurological problems immediately after he was exposed to the toxic chemicals. Rather than informing the worker or his doctors about the toxic nature of the chemicals, BNSF began an immediate cover up of the facts of the accident and the seriousness of the toxic exposure, by telling the worker and his doctors that he was only exposed to a benign chemical that would not cause him long-term harm. BNSF also told the Federal Railroad Administration that incident was nothing more than a “false alarm” and they would not investigate it further. After a week of trial, the jury returned a verdict of $15,343,753 in the worker's favor. , 2018
    • Kowalweski v. BNSF: Verdict of $15,343,753.  A jury awarded a record-setting FELA verdict of $15,343,753 to Scott Kowalewski for severe and progressive neurological injuries he suffered while working a BNSF railroad yard in 2014.  The injuries occured when BNSF mishandled tanker cars from the oil fracking fields, which vented toxic petrochemicals.  Before trial, BNSF was sanctioned for its extensive cover-up and litigaiton absuses.  This misconduct included destroying evidence at the scened, destroying and fabricating documents and video, paying witnesses, disobeying court orders, and other discovery abuses.  BNSF will be ordered to pay additional fines for this misconduct, in excess of the verdict., 2018
    • Joe Sayler represented a ten-year-old boy who lost both of his legs in St. Paul, Minnesota. More information can be found here. The boy was playing by BNSF’s tracks in area where the railroad was well aware that elementary children were routinely playing and even building forts. There were also highly visible footpaths in the area crossing over the tracks that had been used for over fifty years. Other injuries and deaths had occurred in the area, but still the railroad refused to construct fences or take any engineering action—despite a Minnesota law requiring them to fence off their tracks and right-of-way. By determining all of this in discovery, Sayler was able to recover enough money for the boy so all of his medical and living needs will be taken care of for the rest of his life. BNSF still has not fenced the tracks off. Brittney Silva was killed just weeks before her high school graduation, when she was tragically struck by a train at a skewed crossing in San Leandro, California. Through diligent and hard-fought work, we uncovered that the crossing was hazardous to pedestrians and supposed to be fixed several years earlier with free funds from the federal government, but the railroad instead sat on these funds instead of fixing the crossing. Working backwards from a single picture, we were also able to prove that the pedestrian warnings at the crossing were improperly installed and did not provide adequate warning to pedestrians, which violated California and Federal laws. Also, the railroad was quick to accuse Brittney of talking on her cell phone, telling the media as much — but we were able to discredit this accusation by uncovering records and doing an accident reconstruction. There had also been other pedestrian deaths at the same crossing. The crossing has since been fixed and updated with proper pedestrian safety warnings.Deibert V. DMVW Railroad (Believed to be a record settlement against the DMVW. Accident occurred when DMVW’s tracks washed out and the locomotive crashed into the hole created by the washout. Primary injury was PTSD).Grover v. Sidekicks Lounge, et al. (North Dakota dram shop cases involving three bars and a drunk driver and an innocent client who ultimately had her leg amputated. Despite one of the four bars having insurance, settlements exceeded one million dollars).Shinkle v. BNSF Railway (Railroad worker in Spokane, WA, sustained a traumatic brain injury while working for BNSF. Railroad insisted on accusing Mr. Shinkle of faking this career ending injury. BNSF was caught destroying evidence and the court determined they were completely liable for the injury. BNSF faced sanctions after trial. Halfway through trial, a favorable settlement was reached).

    Representative Clients:

    •  boy lost both of his legs while playing on BNSF’s tracks in an area where the railroad was well aware that elementary children were routinely playing on the tracks and even building forts. , 2015
    • special education teacher that was sent to a facility housing severely disturbed youths. The client was assigned to teach a teenager that had a long, violent history that the facility knew about and was required to have staff supervision. Unfortunately, nobody told Tom this and the facility failed to monitor the youth, who attacked Tom and gave him a concussion that ended his career, 2017
    • a girl was killed just weeks before her high school graduation, when she was tragically struck by a train at a skewed crossing in San Leandro, California, when she walked in front of an oncoming train. Through diligent and hard-fought work, we uncovered that the crossing was hazardous to pedestrians and supposed to be fixed several years earlier with free funds from the federal government, but the railroad instead sat on these funds instead of fixing the crossing. Working backwards from a single picture, we were also able to prove that the pedestrian warnings at the crossing were improperly installed and did not provide adequate warning to pedestrians, 2016
    • North Dakota liquor liability case (selling alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person) involving four bars, a drunk driver, and an innocent client who ultimately had her leg amputated. Despite only one of the four bars having insurance., 2014
    • Railroad worker in Spokane, WA, sustained a traumatic brain injury while working for BNSF. Railroad insisted on accusing Mr. Shinkle of faking this career ending injury. BNSF was caught destroying evidence and the court determined they were completely liable for the injury. BNSF faced sanctions after trial. Halfway through trial, a favorable settlement was reached, 2014

    Industry Groups

    • And Personal Injury
    • FELA
    • Railroad
    • Train
    Office Location for Joseph M. Sayler

    2150 Third Ave. N
    Suite 350
    Anoka, MN 55303

    Joseph M. Sayler:

    Last Updated: 1/22/2019

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