Crowder to hear motion to transfer in train injuries case

Amelia Flood Jul. 1, 2010, 9:00am

A railroad company is asking that a suit over a man's injuries be moved out of Edwardsville and sent to Macoupin County.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder is set to hear the change of venue motion filed by Norfolk Southern Railway Company July 7 at 1:15 p.m.

The judge denied the motion to dismiss the suit that was filed with the venue change motion June 18 as premature.

Plaintiff John Whitt seeks damages in excess of $50,000 and costs from the company.

He contends that he was struck by a Norfolk Southern train in his native Macoupin County after he was attacked and left unconscious in the middle of the train tracks after attending the Staunton Homecoming in June 2007.

The plaintiff argues that the train's engineer, defendant Travis
Atchison, failed to keep a lookout and could have plainly seen Whitt and thus avoided hitting him.

The plaintiff claims multiple injuries from the incident.

The railroad contends that it is not responsible for Whitt's injuries because he was trespassing on it property.

It claims Whitt contributed to his injuries.

In its motion to transfer, Norfolk Southern argues that Macoupin County is a more appropriate venue than Madison County.

It points to the facts that the plaintiff is a resident of Macoupin as well as that the incident took place in Staunton, in Macoupin County.

"Therefore only slight deference should be afforded to [plaintiff's] chosen forum," the memorandum in support of the motion to transfer reads.

The railroad asked to transfer the case in August 2009.

The plaintiff is represented by Joseph Dulle.

The railroad is represented by Charles Swartwout.

The case is Madison case number 09-L-668.

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