Train conductor not negligent in slip and fall

A train conductor’s negligence claims against his employer were unanimously dismissed Wednesday by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

In LeDure v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., the circuit affirmed a district court’s holding that the conductor’s slip and fall was not reasonably foreseeable.

Bradley LeDure was a conductor for Union Pacific Railroad Co. On Aug. 10, 2016, while working at a railyard in Salem, Illinois, preparing a train for departure, he slipped and fell down the steps of an exterior walkway while preparing a train for departure. He reported the incident and an inspection found a small amount of oil on the walkway.

Mr. LeDure filed a complaint against Union Pacific alleging negligence under the Locomotive Inspection Act and the Federal Employers Liability Act and arguing that the company failed to maintain walkways free of hazards.

A district court dismissed Mr. LeDure’s claims, holding that his injuries were unforeseeable because he slipped on a small “slick spot” unknown to Union Pacific and that the Locomotive Inspection Act did not apply because the train was not “in use” during the incident. Mr. LeDure appealed but a circuit court affirmed the district court’s decision.

The court noted that Mr. LeDure’s actions of tagging locomotives to prepare them for use was the “antithesis” of using them and agreed with the district court’s determination that the Locomotive Inspection Act only applies to trains “in use” and was therefore inapplicable.

The circuit court also found that Mr. LeDure failed to provide evidence that his injuries were reasonably foreseeable. He did not claim that Union Pacific was aware of the small oil spot or that an earlier inspection would have identified the hazard. The court found that the district court correctly determined that Mr. LeDure presented no evidence that the walkway was inadequately maintained or that an alternate design pattern could have prevented his injuries.

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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