Law School Case Brief
Grimes v. Norfolk S. Ry. - 116 F. Supp. 2d 995 (N.D. Ind. 2000)
The Federal Employer's Liability Act, 45 U.S.C.S. § 51 et seq., provides that railroads operating in interstate commerce: shall be liable in damages to any person suffering injury while he is employed by such carrier in such commerce for such injury or death resulting in whole or part from the negligence of any of the officers, agents, or employees of such carrier, or by reason of any defect or insufficiency, due to its negligence, in its cars, engines, appliances, machinery, track, roadbed, works, boats, wharves, or other equipment.
Plaintiff conductor brought an action against defendant railway and defendant tortfeasor under the Federal Employer's Liability Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C.S. § 51 et seq., and state law negligence for injuries he sustained when defendant railway's train hit defendant tortfeasor's car on the tracks. Defendant railway moved for summary judgment, claiming that it was not negligent and that Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), 49 U.S.C.S. § 20101 et seq., regulations superceded FELA liability and precluded recovery. Defendant tortfeasor cross-moved for summary judgment, claiming that an intervening, superceding cause cut off his liability for plaintiff's injuries.
Taking into consideration the circumstances of the case at hand, should the summary judgment be granted?
Yes, in part.
The court granted summary judgment in part, holding that plaintiff failed to show that defendant railway negligently inspected its tracks. The court denied summary judgment in part, holding that FRSA regulations did not preclude defendant railway's potential FELA liability and there were factual issues regarding the issue of safe walkways. The court denied summary judgment to defendant tortfeasor, holding that plaintiff's injuries were proximately caused by defendant tortfeasor's negligent act, and were reasonably foreseeable.
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