Crompton v. BNSF Railway Co.

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Federal Employment Liability Act
Case Number: 
No. 13-1686
Decision Date: 
March 12, 2014
Federal District: 
S.D. Ill.
Record contained sufficient evidence to support jury’s $1.6 million verdict in favor of plaintiff in FELA action, alleging that plaintiff-railroad employee sustained personal injuries when door of train suddenly became unlatched and knocked plaintiff off train. While plaintiff alleged that defendant had failed to keep latch to door in good working order, and that door latch was defective in some way, jury was presented with conflicting versions of how door became open, including plaintiff’s own negligence in failing to latch door properly. However, jury could properly believe plaintiff’s version of facts, where defendant had failed to produce any evidence to establish impossibility of plaintiff’s version of incident. Moreover, plaintiff presented evidence that door remained closed for approximately one minute prior to swinging open on its own, and that defendant had been aware of similar incidents in which train doors with similar latches suddenly swung open without any outside manipulation.