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Haddan v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co.

railway road crossing

Court: Supreme Court of Alabama

Docket: 1190976

Opinion Date: February 4, 2022

Judge: Stewart

Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Personal Injury

This case law update is brought to you by Freeway Law auto accident and personal injury lawyers in Orange County. The following is not one of our cases, but it is of some significance, and we thought we should share it with our readers for informational purposes. The information above is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice.

Yulanda Haddan appealed the grant of summary judgment entered in favor of Norfolk Southern Railway Company and Norfolk Southern Corporation (collectively referred to as “Norfolk Southern”). She also sought review of a circuit court order striking certain deposition testimony. Haddan was injured when a pickup truck in which she was riding collided with a Norfolk Southern train at a railroad crossing. In its summary judgment, the circuit court concluded that Haddan could not recover against Norfolk Southern because, it determined, the driver of the truck failed to stop, look, and listen before entering the crossing and that failure was the sole proximate cause of Haddan’s injury. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order striking the testimony, but reversed summary judgment and remand the matter to the circuit court for further proceedings. “Haddan presented substantial evidence … from which a reasonable person could conclude that Norfolk Southern contributed to causing the collision resulting in Haddan’s injuries, calling into question whether Cox’s contributory negligence rose to the level of a superseding, intervening cause and creating a jury question as to whether Cox’s conduct was that of a concurrent tortfeasor. The evidence of Norfolk Southern’s failure to install lights and a gate at the crossing further raises doubt as to whether Cox’s failure to stop, look, and listen was truly unforeseeable. Haddan has raised enough of a factual issue to preclude the entry of a summary judgment in favor of Norfolk Southern. Ultimately, ‘the jury must decide whose actions are the proximate cause of the injury, or whether both [parties’] actions concurred and combined to proximately cause the injury.'”

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