United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant Illinois Central
Railroad Company's (“ICRR”) Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment. [R. 17]. Plaintiff William
Christopher Moses responded, [R. 24-1], and ICRR replied, [R.
26]. Fully briefed, this matter is now ripe for adjudication.
For the reasons stated herein, ICRR's Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment, [R. 17], is DENIED.
case centers around an incident that occurred on March 15,
2015 at a railroad freight yard operated by ICRR in Fulton,
Kentucky. [R. 1-5 at 8 (First Amended Complaint); R. 17-1 at
2 (ICRR Motion Partial Sum. Judg.).] At the time of the
incident, Plaintiff William Moses, the conductor, and Robert
Upchurch, the engineer, were moving freight cars on to the
proper tracks. [R. 23-5 at 2-3 (Upchurch Depo Excerpt); R.
17-1 at 2; R. 1-5 at 8-9.] This process involved Moses,
located on the ground, giving commands by radio to Upchurch,
located in the train's cab, to move the train forward or
backward. [Id.] Moses's exact location and
actions at the time of the incident are disputed by the
parties. Due to his serious injury, Moses has little memory
of the accident. However, he testified:
I was on the end of the car -- I was on the side of the car
on the ladder. I don't know why I was on the ladder but I
was on the ladder. My feet slipped off, I'm hanging by my
arm, find myself on my knees and tried to get up and I'm
[R. 17-3 at 3 (Moses Depo. Excerpt).] Josh Elliot, who was
working in the yard office, caught a “glance” of
When I got there we were talking a little bit and then I
heard a boom. Cars coupling up, rail cars it sounded like.
And then I looked out -- we have a bay window. I looked out
it and got a glance of what looked like Moses stumbling. And
he was on the east side of the car. . . . So I walked outside
the front door, our front door and walked down. There was a
car -- a train parked on main two. . . . And then that's
when I seen Moses laying there under the car.
[R. 17-4 at 2 (Elliot Depo. Excerpt).] In his First Amended
Complaint, counsel for Moses alleged:
Mr. Moses was in the process of performing a shoving move. To
accomplish this move, he positioned himself on the side
ladder of a rail car. The engineer then shoved the cars. As
Mr. Moses was standing on the ladder and using his radio to
control the movement, his feet slipped from the ladder. His
slip was caused by a combination of the slippery spillage he
had accumulated on his boots and a defective condition in the
portion of the ladder on which his feet were positioned. He
was left hanging by his arms. The engineer stopped the
movement. The slack action from the stop threw Mr. Moses
forward and into the path of his moving equipment.
[R. 1-5 at 9.] ICRR disputes this account of the events.
experienced severe injuries due to the rail car running over
him, including “multiple fractures to his spine,
multiple fractures to his ribs, multiple fractures to his
legs, a pneumothorax accompanied by acute respiratory
failure, a closed head injury, internal injuries, permanent
eye injuries, and other injuries.” [R. 1-5 at 9.]
August 1, 2018, ICRR filed the Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment that is currently before the Court. [R. 17.]
judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, reveals “that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute of material fact exists
where “there is sufficient evidence favoring the
nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The Court “may not make
credibility determinations nor weigh the evidence when
determining whether an issue of fact remains for
trial.” Laster v. City of Kalamazoo, 746 F.3d
714, 726 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing Logan v. Denny's,
Inc.,259 F.3d 558, 566 (6th Cir. 2001); Ahlers v.
Schebil,188 F.3d 365, 369 (6th Cir. 1999)). “The
ultimate question is ‘whether the evidence presents a