Court Finds Union Pacific Not Negligent in Employee’s Slip and Fall Accident
PUBLISHED BY: LFN Primary
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) July 23, 2021 – A federal appellate court in Chicago, Illinois, unanimously dismissed a train conductor’s negligence lawsuit against his employer for injuries he sustained due to a slip and fall accident that occurred while he was working at a railyard.
Bradley LeDure was an employee of Union Pacific Railroad Co. As an engineer, his job duties included tagging trains to prepare them for use. On the day of his slip and fall accident, he was in charge of powering down parked trains at a Salem railyard so that they could be taken to a different location for repair and maintenance. LeDure slipped on a small oil slick and fell down the steps of a walkway while getting a train ready for departure on August 16, 2016.
LeDure filed a complaint accusing Union Pacific of negligence under the Federal Employers Liability Act and Locomotive Inspection Act. He claimed that his employer was liable for his injuries as the company failed in its duty to ensure the railyard’s walkways were free of hazards. He appealed after a district court issued a summary judgment in favor of Union Pacific.
“Not every slip and fall accident on someone else’s property automatically means that the property owner is liable. For a slip and fall claim to be valid, certain requirements must be met in terms of evidence,” said Paul Greenberg, a personal injury attorney with Chicago law firm Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, who is not involved with the case. “There are different ways to prove reasonableness in a slip and fall case, depending on the circumstances of the accident. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a case.”
LeDure informed his employer about the incident. A small amount of oil was found on the walkway after an inspection.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s ruling that LeDure did not provide sufficient evidence to show that his injuries were reasonably foreseeable. The district court found that Union Pacific could not have known about the “slick spot” that he slipped on.
In addition, the Locomotive Inspection Act was not applicable because the train was not “in use” during the slip and fall accident. The court stated there was no proof that Union Pacific knew about the hazard, the walkway was not properly maintained or that an earlier inspection would have identified the oil slick and prevented LeDure’s injuries.
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