By: Eugene Hollander
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Illinois Supreme Court Voids Judgment Against Railroad
The Illinois Supreme Court reversed a $3.9 million personal injury judgment against several railroad companies last week, holding that they cannot be held liable for injuries that the plaintiff sustained after he attempted to jump onto a moving train. In the opinion, the high court reasoned that a moving train represents an “obvious danger” that children understand that could harm them. The supreme court overturned the appellate court’s decision to affirm the jury verdict in the case. The case arose when, in 2003, 12 year old Dominic Choate tried to impress his friends by jumping onto a moving train. When he fell, a train wheel severed part of his foot. Later, a surgeon was required to amputate his leg below the knee. A Cook County jury awarded him $6.9 million in damages, but reduced the award 40% due to the boy’s comparative negligence. The court noted that Choate ignored fences and warning signs near the tracks. This will likely mean the end of that litigation.