ILNews

Federal judge: No new jury trial, judgment

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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A federal judge in Fort Wayne won't give a former train conductor a new trial relating to injuries he sustained during work.

The decision from U.S. District Judge William C. Lee in the Northern District came Thursday in Terry Lee Wilcox v. CSX Transportation. The case involved claims by the 30-year employee that he couldn't work following injuries he developed over time that resulted in more specific injuries in 2002 and 2004. After a five-day trial in October, the jury decided in favor of the railroad company.

But Wilcox asked Judge Lee to set aside the verdict, maintaining that it was contrary to the clear weight of the evidence and that the "evidence adduced at trial of this action points so strongly and overwhelmingly in favor of Plaintiff that reasonable jurors could only arrive at a verdict in Plaintiff's favor."

Judge Lee declined to do that, saying that Wilcox failed to provide any evidence supporting negligence, the issues were not overly complex, the evidence was not in dispute, and there was no "pernicious or undesirable occurrence at trial."

"The true crux of Wilcox's argument in his motion for a new trial or judgment as a matter of law is that the jury's verdict was simply wrong," Judge Lee wrote. "Wilcox is understandably disappointed with the outcome at trial, as any losing party would be. No doubt this disappointment is compounded by the fact that a plaintiff in a FELA (Federal Employers' Liability Act) action carries a rather 'featherweight' burden of proof."

The judge added, "In this case, Wilcox has not met his burden of establishing that he is entitled either to a new trial or to a judgment as a matter of law. He has not raised any issue that establishes that the jury's verdict was clearly erroneous or that the trial - or any part of it - was manifestly unfair to him."
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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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