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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:24 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
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Deadline dot com has an article about the Sarah Jones Family vs. CSX trial that is happening this week:
Sarah Jones Family V. CSX Trial: Day 3 Of Trial Draws Parents To Stand


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:13 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 1997
Location: Northern Illinois
Pretty obvious from the testimony that Miller is at fault... but I suppose the family is going after CSX because Miller and the defunct production company have no money.

I feel really bad for the family, but that doesn't mean they are entitled to money from CSX, who appears blameless in this case. Money won't bring Ms Jones back, nor will it cause a modification of CSX's behavior.

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:06 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
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According to news reports:

The parents of Sarah Jones contend that the CSX shares in the blame for their daughter’s death. They argue that the CSX has a duty to protect trespassers if the company observes the trespass occurring. To support this, they argue that CSX has rules requiring crews to report trespassers when they see them, and to respond by warning other trains to watch out for the trespassers. CSX crews failed to do that in this case.

The plaintiff attorneys also argue that the engineer of the train should have applied braking as soon as he saw the film crew and the hospital bed on the bridge approximately 33 seconds prior to reaching that point. The CSX stated that an emergency brake application would not have stopped the train before reaching the bridge and that it might have (or would have) derailed the train, thus possibly injuring the film crew.

The CSX also stated that a service application of brakes would have stopped the train two seconds after it passed the film crew.


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:24 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1552
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Sadly, this is exactly the kind of trial that gives the risk management folks at the class 1 railroads the ammo to argue forcibly against any public excursions ( especially steam) as it risks a jury finding the railroad guilty of promoting an " attractive nuisance" that will cause unsophisticated members of the public to be drawn into a "danger zone" and potentially hurt or worse.

The guilty party here has already been found guilty and served jail time. This trial is just another example of our over supply of lawyers and how litigious we've become.

Darn good thing we built this country before the lawyers and bean counters took over !!!

IMHO-Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:05 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
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Apparently, the legal theory is that there is more than one guilty party. I would say that the lawyers and their clients are just taking advantage of what the law offers. That is human nature. In the end, it is up to the jury to apply the law. If there is a problem with this, the law needs to be changed.


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:54 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
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Location: Northern WV
The theory in this case is "go after the deep pockets".

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:01 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 428
WSAV, the NBC Affiliate in Savannah covered each day of the trial. Here are links to their articles:

(1) Jury selected in ‘Midnight Rider’ civil suit against CSX (Published: July 10, 2017, 7:18 pm)

(2) RECAP: Day one of civil trial against CSX Transportation in ‘Midnight Rider’ case (Published: July 11, 2017, 11:55 pm)

(3) Day two of civil trial against CSX railroad corp. in ‘Midnight Rider’ death (Published: July 12, 2017, 10:02 pm)

(4) Parents and train engineer testify in civil trial against CSX in ‘Midnight Rider’ death (July 13, 2017, 6:51 pm)

(5) Location manager of ‘Midnight Rider’ testifies in civil trial against CSX railroad (July 14, 2017, 5:37 pm)

The last article concludes with:
Quote:
Closing arguments will take place on Monday.


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:56 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
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The Atlanta newspaper has an article summarizing the trial's outcome:
Jury awards $11.2 million after fatal injury on Georgia film set

An excerpt:
Quote:
The jury assigned varying levels of liability: CSX is liable for 35 percent or roughly $3.92 million; Miller for 28 percent or $3.14 million, Rayonier (the corporation that owns the land where the tracks are located), 18 percent or about 2 million, Savin and first AD Hillary Schwartz 7 percent or about $785,000 and producer Jay Sedrish 5 percent or about $561,000.


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:04 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 8:31 am
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Location: Morganton, N.C.
I would bet that CSX will seek to overturn the award largely because they had no real hand in the accident other than doing what they do (hauling freight). Not surprised that the jury agreed to penalize CSX but honestly what did the company do wrong? The fault was with the director and the production company.

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:53 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
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Location: Pottstown,Pa.
Again, this is the kind of outcome that the class 1 risk management people use to urge their companies to stay far away from passenger excursions ( especially steam) as the "attractive nuisance" factor may cause someone to get hurt or worse.

Vey fortunate we got our nation built before the lawyers and bean counters took over.

IMHO-Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:33 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
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Location: Tucson, Arizona
jmlaboda wrote:
I would bet that CSX will seek to overturn the award largely because they had no real hand in the accident other than doing what they do (hauling freight). Not surprised that the jury agreed to penalize CSX but honestly what did the company do wrong? The fault was with the director and the production company.


The railroad was only assigned 35% of the fault, so their part of the total damages is what was mentioned above. Whether or not to appeal is pretty much a business decision. How much has it cost to defend the case to this point, how much will it cost to appeal and what is the chance of a successful outcome on appeal? Large corporations look at this much differently than an individual might. I would not be surprised to see CSX appeal and I wouldn't be surprised to see CSX cut a check and walk away from the matter. I wouldn't bet on either, though. This is a decision that the Law Department will pass on to corporate management to make the decision.

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:55 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:25 pm
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Oh, for cripes sake the film crew watched two OTHER trains go by on the bridge and still thought it was OK....... Honestly how much stupidity can there be in one group of adults ????

TWO TRAINS WENT BY WHILE THEY WERE THERE AND THEY STILL WENT ON THE TRACKS....... Unbelievable.

As a CSX shareholder I want them to appeal this immediately. CSX owns the tracks and said "we cannot support your request to be on our property" and someone argued that they did not explicitly say "NO", so CSX is at fault..... "cannot support your request to trespass on our property" EQUALS NO.....

It seems that the prior train crews saw folks along the track on the other companies property how where those train crews supposed to know those folks were going to go on the bridge ? CSX needs better lawyers.

I feel badly for the poor engineer, the lawyers would have found fault with anything he did, if He put it in emergency and the train piled up into the bridge and killed a dozen folks they would have claimed he should have braked more slowly.


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:23 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
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Location: Tucson, Arizona
NYCRRson wrote:
Oh, for cripes sake the film crew watched two OTHER trains go by on the bridge and still thought it was OK....... Honestly how much stupidity can there be in one group of adults ????

TWO TRAINS WENT BY WHILE THEY WERE THERE AND THEY STILL WENT ON THE TRACKS....... Unbelievable.

As a CSX shareholder I want them to appeal this immediately. CSX owns the tracks and said "we cannot support your request to be on our property" and someone argued that they did not explicitly say "NO", so CSX is at fault..... "cannot support your request to trespass on our property" EQUALS NO.....


This is where a well meaning policy can be used against you. The issue that the attorneys raised was the failure of the CSX crews to follow company policy to report the trespassers to the dispatcher. The argument is essentially that the CSX crews failure to report the trespassers to the dispatcher was a failure of the railroad to exercise due care in the operation of its trains. Had the dispatcher known that trespassers were on the right of way, the dispatcher would then have had a duty to pass that information on to the crew that was involved in the incident. That said, from a business standpoint it probably would have been cheaper for CSX to have settled and not gone to trial. Going to trial gets expensive real quick and even if you win, you might not get anything tangible out of it. Getting a judgment is one thing, enforcing it is something else.

Appealing is another matter entirely-you don't appeal a decision simply because you don't like the outcome. You only appeal when you believe that a reversible error was made by the trial court. If the attorneys decide that they are not likely to be able to prove reversible error, there's no point in appealing. In appeals, you're dealing with brass tacks-the appeals court will only examine the legal issues, not the evidence of the trial case.

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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:15 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
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Blaming CSX seems to defy common sense because we expect blame to be assessed only to the most blameworthy, and it obviously the one who failed to get permission from CSX and ignored their denial seems to be at the top of the blame chain. But CSX set themselves up for sharing the blame by their instituting a policy that says a trespasser amounts to a railroad emergency and must be reported immediately to the dispatcher, and that they will slow trains down if necessary to avoid injuring the trespasser.

Also, I believe the law imposes various requirements for a landowner to protect a trespasser from injury. It does not automatically regard the loss of the trespasser’s life as just compensation for wronging the landowner by trespassing.

It is not hard to understand why the large number of people in the film crew watched two trains go by and then went out onto the bridge to do their filming. They were led to believe that their company had permission, and were told that two trains would pass, and then they could start filming. Although I don’t understand why they staged a lookout to watch for trains if they believed they had permission. It would be interesting to hear how they looked at that matter. Did they stage lookouts in both directions from the bridge?

I have had a lot of difficulty understanding details of this trial as reported in the news. All the facts are woven together in a hodgepodge of delivery that makes it very difficult to isolate and evaluate one single line of action.

There has been a news story saying that when the first two trains passed, the film crew was waiting on Rayonier property, and had not yet entered CSX property. If this is true, it seems to totally defeat the legal theory for blaming CSX because if the crew were not yet on CSX property as the two trains passed, there would have been no trespassing for those train crews to report. So I conclude that this story is a misstatement of the facts that seems to have originated in the very first days after this accident, and persisted ever since. There is a lot of detailed coverage over the last couple weeks that clearly describes testimony about the film crew standing on CSX property right next to the track as train #1 and #2 went by.

At this point, what I would really like to hear is the detailed explanation of the legal theory as to why CSX’s failure to follow their own rules on reporting trespassers proves their negligence. All we have been told is that it does prove their negligence, but CSX repeatedly said it does not prove that. So I would like a deep explanation of this matter just in terms of the applicable law.


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 Post subject: Re: Film crewman killed by train
PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:25 pm
Posts: 242
Alan Walker, I do understand your points completely, and I get it, but for cripes sake is a railroad supposed to stop all operations just because anybody is anywhere near their private property ???

My Father was involved in a "trespasser injured on RR property" lawsuit, some idjit was standing on RR property looking at birds with a telescope when the train operated by my Dad (an Amtrak train operated under contract to Conrail) "Clipped" his tripod and threw him away from the property with some injuries (thankfully not life threatening).

Dad had to take time to go and testify that essentially "Some idiot was standing too close to the tracks and we hit him doing 79 mph, by the time I could recognize it was a person it was too late to stop the train safely and avoid hitting him" What a farce, I think Amtrak/Conrail also settled that case just to keep the costs down....

I do feel for the engineer, years of training, careful operation of a massive amount of energy and some stupid persons put lives at risk for something of so little value, a few minutes of film footage for a movie, what a senseless accident......

My Dad was fortunate, 49 years as a fireman and engineer with no fatalities, partly skill and partly luck. He never was involved in a fatal road crossing accident in all those years. Several of his coworkers had 2,3,4,5 fatal road crossing accidents in their careers.


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