Articles Posted in Transportation Law

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The Court of Appeals issued an opinion affirming a circuit court’s denial of Illinois Central Railroad’s request for a setoff of a jury verdict awarded to Bennie Oakes through his representative Clara Hagan. As described by Illinois Central, who as appellant framed the issues for appeal, “This case is about whether, once those damages are assessed by a jury, a railroad company under the [Federal Employers’ Liability Act] is entitled to a credit or reduction of that verdict for sums that have already been paid by others to the Plaintiff for the same injuries and damages.” In Illinois Central’s answer, it raised an affirmative defense that it was entitled to apportionment or set off liability and/or damages for any negligence of or damages caused by third parties. However, Illinois Central later clarified its position that it was not attempting to have negligence apportioned, and the circuit court echoed the clarification by stating that Illinois Central had not “tried to use a third, an empty chair for any other defendants.” The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals misconstrued the primary case it relied upon and ignored other federal precedent; therefore, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ judgment and the circuit court’s denial of Illinois Central’s motion for a setoff. View "Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Oakes" on Justia Law

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Illinois Central Railroad Company appealed a jury verdict for Perry Brent awarded under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) for injuries he sustained during his employment with Illinois Central. While the Supreme Court found that the trial court erred in failing to grant Illinois Central's motions for summary judgment and directed verdict on the FELA negligence per se claim, the Court affirmed the jury's general verdict based on Brent's FELA negligence claim. View "Illinois Central Railroad Company v. Brent" on Justia Law

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This appeal stems from a civil suit brought by the estates and wrongful-death beneficiaries of Christopher Allan Bloodworth, Steven Earl Tallant Jr., Marcus Richardson, and A.W. Hilson, four men killed at a railroad crossing when a freight train collided with the truck in which they were traveling. The beneficiaries of Bloodworth, Tallant, Richardson, and Hilson filed their complaint(s) against Illinois Central Railroad Company and several of its employees, including the track crew, as well as other employees of Illinois Central’s track department. Defendants filed two motions for summary judgment; the circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants with respect to Plaintiffs’ claims alleging negligent operation of the train. The circuit court also granted partial summary judgment in favor of Defendants on three of four contested issues regarding the engineering and maintenance of the railroad crossing, leaving one surviving claim. The circuit court then granted five of Defendants’ motions in limine to exclude Plaintiffs’ evidence. Finding that, without the excluded evidence, Plaintiffs could not support the remaining claim, the circuit court granted Defendants’ motions for summary judgment in their entirety and issued a judgment and certificate pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiffs appealed the trial court's decisions to the Supreme Court, and Defendants cross-appealed as to certain trial court rulings. Because the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants on each claim by Plaintiffs, the Court dismissed Defendants’ cross-appeal as moot. View "Estate of Bloodworth v. Illinois Central Railroad Company" on Justia Law