Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Train crew needs training


Why do I feel as though I am in law school again?

Roosevelt Sims was a passenger on an Amtrak train, bound for Los Angeles. Amtrak personnel mistook the manifestations of his diabetic condition for drunkenness, and so, in the middle of the wilderness near Williams, Arizona, ejected Sims and his baggage from the train.

The story sounded familiar, so I reached for my old Torts casebook and found two cases where railroads were liable for putting passengers off at some desolate place with no station or other shelter. Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Co. v. Chilton, 7 Tex. Civ. App. 183, 27 S.W. 272 (1894); Hines v. Garrett, 131 Va. 125, 108 S.E. 690 (1921).
The railroad industry is a slow learner.

In fact, there is also the case of a bus company that was liable for injuries incurred by a passenger discharged at a dangerous point a few feet from the regularly designated bus stop. Parker v. San Francisco, 158 Cal.App.2d 597, 323 P.2d 108 (1958). Ditto for taxicabs, Ingham v. Luxor Cab Co., 93 Cal. App. 4th 1045; 113 Cal. Rptr. 2d 587 (2001).

The personal transportation industry in general, and the railroad passenger industry in particular, do not seem to be magnets for the mentally gifted members of the workforce. They seem to reward stupidity and dishonesty, and so, those who lack such traits have diminished prospects for career advancement. Employees who exhibit tendencies towards honesty and civility are penalized, and, if they remain, tend to retire at a rank not too much advanced from the one in which they were initially hired.

Some cases are meant to be settled early, and this seems to be one of them. But if the Amtrak lawyer who makes the decision came up through the ranks, then he (unlikely that it is a she) might be slow on the uptake and might allow the case, with the sympathetic plaintiff, to actually go into court.

If so, then the Mr. Sims not only has Chilton, Garrett, Parker and Ingham in his corner, but he also has the Americans with Disabilities Act going for him.

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