Case Detail

Choate v. Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co.
On September 20, 2011, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned a $3.9 million judgment awarded to a boy who was injured while attempting to jump onto a rapidly moving freight train. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief urging reversal. WLF argued that landowners should not be held liable for failing to prevent trespassers from knowingly engaging in reckless behavior and noted that the nearly 13-year-old boy admitted that he was aware of the danger of jumping onto trains. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that landowners are not liable for injuries to a trespassing child unless the childódue to his age and maturityówas incapable of appreciating the risks involved. It went on to determine that boys who are nearly 13 years old are well aware that jumping onto a moving train is dangerous. It further held that whether children of a given age appreciate the dangers they are facing should be decided as a matter of law by the judge, not by the jury.
Case Status:
More Information and Downloads:
9/15/2010: Download the Brief
Litigation Update: Court Upholds Large Tort Award To Youth Who Jumped Onto Moving Train
Litigation Update: Court Overturns Large Tort Award To Youth Who Jumped Onto Moving Train
Press Release: Court Urged To Overturn Tort Award To Youth Who Jumped On Moving Train
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