TORTS (FELA): BOOTH V. CSX TRANSPORTATION (COA 12/15/2006)

BOOTH V. CSX TRANSPORTATION
TORTS: FELA (standard of proof)
2005-CA-002568
PUBLISHED: REVERSING AND REMANDING; ACREE
DATE RENDERED: 12/15/2006

CA reverses and remands TC grant of SJ to CSX in Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) claim. (Jefferson Cir. Ct., Hon. Kenneth Conliffe, Judge, presiding).

Appellant alleged that he suffered degenerative knee condition as a result of walking on large “ballast” (gravel), as opposed to smaller ballast, in the course of his employment. Appellant’s industry engineering consultant testified that the ballast we too large; his treating physician testified that appellant’s working conditions was one factor that could contribute to the condition and that walking on rough, uneven surfaces can contribute. TC granted SJ, holding that appellant could not prove within reasonable degree of medical probability that the large ballast caused his condition.

CA reverses, holding that FELA plaintiffs have a lower standard of proof than plaintiffs in ordinary negligence cases and that to survive SJ they must only prove (by entirely circumstantial evidence, if necessary) that the employer’s actions played “any part at all” in the injury.

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