Wrongful death suit involving fatal train crash at trial in McGlynn’s court; Ed Burris Disposal settles for $250,000

Five days before the start of a wrongful death trial against Amtrak, Illinois Central, and trash business Ed Burris Disposal, the trash business settled the claim for $250,000.

Ed Burris Disposal of Jackson County notified U.S. District Judge Stephen McGlynn of the settlement on Sept. 6.

McGlynn denied summary judgment to Ed Burris Disposal on Aug. 22, finding it had a duty to warn invitees of latent or concealed perils.

He found its duty of reasonable care extended beyond its boundaries because it provided the only means of ingress and egress.

The trial began on Sept. 11, examining the death of Cody Robertson of Marion in 2017.

He crossed Illinois Central tracks with a load of truck parts, drove about two thirds of a mile to Ed Burris Disposal, and delivered the parts.

He returned to the crossing, where an Amtrak engine hit his vehicle at full speed.

Estate administrator Amberly Gaudreau sued Amtrak, Illinois Central, and Ed Burris Disposal in 2019 at Williamson County Circuit Court in Marion. Nathaniel Brown of Weilmuenster and Keck in Belleville filed the complaint.

Mark Kunz of Boyle Brasher in Belleville, counsel to Amtrak and Illinois Central, removed the complaint to district court because of Amtrak’s status as a creation of Congress.

This August, when McGlynn denied summary judgment to Ed Burris Disposal, he also denied it to Amtrak and Illinois Central.

“Amtrak has presented neither evidence nor argument that it did not breach its duty regarding the dangerous condition of the crossing,” he wrote.

“Plaintiff has pointed to evidence of previous accidents and near misses at the crossing which may have alerted Amtrak to the dangerousness of this crossing,” he added.

McGlynn rejected Illinois Central’s argument that the hazard was open and obvious.

He found jurors who find a crossing dangerous must determine whether the railroad could have taken precautions at a cost lower than the expected collision cost.

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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