The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge.
General rule: A railroad company owes no duty to a trespasser
except to refrain from inflicting wanton or willful injury.
Exception: A railroad company must use ordinary care toward
those who are frequent trespassers in a limited area upon the
railroad company's property where the railroad company knows —
or should know — of the trespassers' constant intrusion.
Is a city block a "limited area" for purposes of the
permissive use exception?
On August 4, 1995, between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.,
Plaintiff was walking in the vicinity of the railroad tracks
located in the 2200 block of South Sixth Street in Springfield,
Illinois.*fn1 During that same time period, Defendant, through
its employees, was operating a freight train in an easterly
direction along that same stretch of railroad tracks.*fn2
Tragically, Defendant's freight train struck Plaintiff as he
was walking in the vicinity of the railroad tracks.
Plaintiff asserts that Defendant is liable for the injuries
which he sustained as a result of the accident. In Count I of
his second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff argues that Defendant's
operation of its freight train was negligent and that this
negligence was a direct and proximate cause of his injuries. In
Count II of his second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff argues that
Defendant willfully and wantonly operated its freight train
with a reckless disregard for Plaintiff's safety. Thus,
Plaintiff seeks compensation for the damages which he sustained
as a result of this accident.
II. STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that summary
judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 56(c); see Ruiz-Rivera v. Moyer, 70 F.3d 498,
500-01 (7th Cir. 1995). The moving party has the burden of
providing proper documentary evidence to show the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). A genuine
issue of material fact exists when "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, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).
In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact
exists, the Court must consider the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co.,
398 U.S. 144, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). Once the
moving party has met its burden, the opposing party must come
forward with specific evidence, not mere allegations or denials
of the pleadings, which demonstrates that there is a genuine
issue for trial. Howland v. Kilquist 833 F.2d 639 (7th Cir.
Count I of Plaintiff's second Amended Complaint alleges that
Plaintiff was injured as a result of Defendant's negligence. In
Illinois, in order to state a cause of action for negligence,
a plaintiff must establish the existence of a duty of care owed
by the defendant to the plaintiff, a breach of that duty, an
injury proximately caused by the breach, and damages suffered
by the plaintiff. Ward v. K Mart Corp. 136 Ill.2d 132, 140,
554 N.E.2d 223, 226, 143 Ill.Dec. 288, 291 ...