UP appealing $1.25M verdicts in combined wrongful death, personal injury case
Union Pacific Railroad Co. is appealing a $1.25 million personal injury judgment entered against the company in a combined wrongful death and personal injury suit stemming from a truck hit by a train in Missouri.
Union Pacific filed its notice of appeal Dec. 22 in the suit brought by Misty Webb and her uncle, Guy Webb.
Misty Webb originally sued both the railroad and her uncle for the wrongful death of her father, James Webb Jr., before Guy Webb settled with his niece and joined the suit seeking damages for personal injury.
Guy Webb suffered massive injuries and his brother was killed when the truck the men were riding in was hit by a Union Pacific train in Iron County, Mo., in 2007.
Union Pacific claimed that it was not obligated to blow a whistle and that Guy Webb contributed to the accident.
The railroad lost the suit's trial earlier this year.
In that trial, the jury awarded Misty Webb $30,000 and her uncle $1.25 million after reducing the damages by half.
Union Pacific eventually took home $100,000 in set-off from James Webb Jr.'s estate.
Throughout the hard-fought trial both sides sparred frequently over whether the rail crossing where the accident took place was public or private.
Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian ended the argument declaring, "A crossing is a crossing," and ruling that Union Pacific could not argue that a private crossing warranted different care and warning signs than a public crossing.
In its motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, Union Pacific took issue with Matoesian's stance.
The railroad also argued that evidence of the Webb brothers' drug use prior to the accident should have been admitted at trial among other errors.
Matoesian denied that motion Nov. 24.
Union Pacific's appeal is due to the Fifth District Appellate Court in Mount Vernon in February.
John Simon and Amy Collignon Gunn represent Misty Webb and her father's estate.
Eric and Jon Carlson represent Guy Webb.
Thomas Jones and Harlan Harla represent the railroad.
The case is Madison case number 08-L-1139.
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