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COA affirms ruling in suit brought after fatal train accident

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The trial court did not err in concluding that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether federal preemption applies with respect to the adequacy of the traffic warning devices installed at a railroad crossing where a fatal accident occurred in 2009, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Thursday.

The court upheld Vigo Superior Judge David Bolk’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the train crash victims in Indiana Rail Road Company v. John Blaine Davidson, Admin. of the Estate of Carolyn Davidson, Deceased, and Tonya Kincaid, as Mother and Next Friend of Cierra Kincaid, a Minor, 84A01-1202-CT-81.

Indiana Rail Road Co. appealed the trial court’s finding that an issue of material fact existed as to whether federal preemption applied.

The predecessor to Indiana Rail Road in 1978 received federal grant money to install crossbuck signs at the crossing. In 2009, prior to the crash, those crossbucks were removed and a new crossing sign was installed in a project that used state, but no federal money. The new crossbucks were placed at a different location.
 
“In its application requesting state funds, the Indiana Rail Road neither included nor incorporated the federal specifications from the 1978 project. Because state funds were requested and granted, the Indiana Rail Road became responsible for assessing the crossing’s safety needs,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote for the court. “There is no evidence indicating that the federal government approved the newly located crossbucks.”

“We hold that the trial court properly denied the Indiana Rail Road’s motion for partial summary judgment, concluding that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether federal preemption precludes Appellees’ claim with respect to the adequacy of traffic warning devices,” Riley wrote.

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  1. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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