Menard v. Csx Transportation, Inc.

698 F.3d 40 (1st Cir. 2012)


P lived near a rail freight yard owned and operated by D, and he regularly walked across the rail yard on his way to and from his home, as did others who lived in the area. This included crossing active railroad tracks. Heading home on July 30, 2008, P entered the rail yard; at least three CSX employees saw him enter. P made eye contact with some, and none told him to leave. P says that signs did not clearly warn him of the dangers of entering the yard but does not deny knowing that it was railroad property used to switch and store trains. P made eye contact with an engineer and a conductor on the ground who was guiding a train through the yard at slow speed. Neither warned him to leave although the conductor waved his right arm, apparently to indicate that P should move in one direction. At some point, P's right foot was pinned as an activated rail switch moved a segment of track. P freed himself and staggered about 30 feet, where he was struck by an oncoming train. P's left leg was severed, his left arm was badly damaged and his right foot was later amputated. P sued D. D answered and moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. P moved to amend the complaint, adding more detail. The district court ruled that P was a trespasser in the rail yard so that the only duty that D owed was a duty to refrain from willful, wanton or reckless conduct. State law imposes a duty of reasonable care on the property owner where a trespasser is in a position of 'peril' inside the property and his presence is known to the owner. P alleged no facts to suggest that any reasonable steps were available to D to protect P from being struck or falling under the train. The suit was dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. P appealed.