Norfolk Southern moves to dismiss suit involving post-Staunton homecoming injuries

Amelia Flood Nov. 17, 2010, 5:13am


Norfolk Southern Railway Company and several of its employees are moving to dismiss a suit filed by a man struck by one of its trains after the Staunton homecoming three years ago.

Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack is set to hear the pending dismissal moves Friday at 9 a.m.

Plaintiff John Whitt is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 and costs.

Whitt claims that Norfolk Southern employees Travis Atchison and Paul Holden should have seen him lying on the company's tracks outside Staunton in 2007 and slowed to avoid hitting and injuring him.

Whitt claims he was lying on the tracks unconscious after being attacked by unknown persons.

The case had been transferred at one point to Macoupin County but came back when former presiding judge Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder rescinded the transfer order.

Norfolk Southern has tried unsuccessfully in recent months to have the case sent back to Macoupin County.

In the motions to dismiss, the defendants argue that Whitt was trespassing on the tracks because the site at issue was a private rail crossing and not a public rail crossing.

The defense claims that under Illinois law, the railroad and its employees are not liable for injuries or damages Whitt suffered because he was a trespasser.

Charles Swartwout and Andrew Corkery represent the defendants.

Joseph Dulle represents Whitt.

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

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