Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, August 19, 2019

U.S. District Court judge grants Union Pacific's motion to exclude testimony in personal injury suit

By Pam Wright | Apr 27, 2017

A Union Pacific Railroad Locomotive | Liesel/Wikimedia Commmons

EAST ST. LOUIS — A U.S. District Court has ruled in favor of a Union Pacific Railroad motion to strike testimony in a personal injury case.

According to court documents, the lawsuit stems from a claim by employee David Ruark, who alleges he was injured when a rail drill failed while he was on the job.

On April 11, District Judge David R. Herndon ruled that certain testimony from Ruark would be excluded. Herndon based his decision on the plaintiff’s failure to respond to the motion on the matter filed by Union Pacific.

"On the basis that the plaintiff filed no response to the defendant’s motions in limine, and therefore seemingly does not object to the pending motions, the Court, at this juncture, interprets plaintiff’s lack of a response as a concession on Case,” wrote Herndon in his ruling.

Attorneys for Union Pacific Railroad filed the motion to exclude Ruark’s testimony, arguing that he is not qualified to offer opinions regarding the cause of the failure of the rail drill. 

Union Pacific also argues that even if Ruark was qualified to offer an opinion, his "opinion would be wholly speculative, given that the plaintiff never examined the drill after the alleged incident to determine what happened,” according to the ruling.

Herndon also ruled in favor of Union Pacific’s motion to exclude the plaintiff, plaintiff’s attorney and plaintiff’s witnesses from exploring numerous evidentiary matters at trial, including injuries to other employees (unless there is firm evidence of an injury similar to plaintiff's), claims of unsafe conditions and claims that the plaintiff felt intimidated or threatened upon reporting the injury, among others.

Union Pacific argued that the matters "lack of relevance; are immaterial to any issue in the lawsuit; are more prejudicial than probative; may lead to confusion of the issues; are improper and inflammatory; and may mislead the jury."

Want to get notified whenever we write about any of these organizations ?

Sign-up Next time we write about any of these organizations, we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

Organizations in this Story

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois East St. Louis Union Pacific Railroad