Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Garcia v. National Railroad Passenger Corp.

August 10, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, District Judge


This matter is before the court on the motion of Plaintiff Angel Garcia ("Plaintiff") to remand this case to state court and the motion of Defendant Northeast Illinois Commuter Railroad Corporation ("Metra") to bar expert testimony from Alexander Litwornia. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion to remand is denied and Metra's motion to bar Litwornia's testimony is granted.


On April 24, 2005, Plaintiff's decedent, Miguel Garcia ("Garcia"), and Derek Andrade went to the Grayland train station in Chicago to catch a train to return to Andrade's home in Round Lake. Garcia and Andrade planned to catch the final train of that day, which arrived during the 8pm hour. Garcia and Andrade arrived at Grayland on the east side of the tracks and, because there were no posted train schedules on the east side, crossed over a pedestrian walkway to the west side of the tracks to look at a schedule. While on the west platform, the two men saw a train approaching from the south. Thinking this train was theirs, Garcia and Andrade began to jog across the tracks to get to the east platform to catch the train. Andrade crossed first, and by the time Garcia ran in front of the train, he did not have sufficient time to get across. He was struck and killed.

The train station was owned, operated, and controlled by Metra, an Illinois corporation. The train that struck Garcia was owned by National Railroad Passenger Corporation ("Amtrak"). On June 29, 2005, Plaintiff sued Defendants Amtrak, Metra, and the City of Chicago in the Circuit Court of Cook County alleging negligence under state law. Approximately one month later, Amtrak removed the case to our court, relying on the jurisdictional basis provided in 28 U.S.C. § 1349.*fn1

The parties began a nine-month discovery process, during which Plaintiff named Litwornia as a retained expert witness. The discovery disclosures specified that he would discuss all safety violations committed by the defendants; applicable regulations and other safety industry standards that were violated by the defendants; safe custom and practice in train station operation, maintenance, control and/or supervision; ... [and] his duties with respect to safety at train stations where he worked.

Exh. G to Def.'s Motion to Bar the Testimony of Alexander J. Litwornia. He was to offer specific testimony about the condition of Metra's Grayland Train Station and how the conditions of this station contributed to the death of Miguel Garcia ... [particularly] the lighting, track design, station design, the layout of the station, the structures and any other aspects of Grayland Train Station....It will be his opinion that the poor lighting conditions, the malfunctioning lights and/or any other problems with the lighting contributed to the April 24, 2005 accident.

Id. Litwornia prepared a five-page report that listed all the data and testimony he reviewed and outlined in his opinions. The parties attempted to schedule Litwornia's deposition on several occasions, but to date he has not been deposed. For that reason as well as their conviction that Litwornia is neither qualified to offer an expert opinion on the issues contained in his report nor has supported his conclusions with testing or analysis, Metra has moved to bar Plaintiff from using his testimony in this case.

After fact discovery was completed, Plaintiff and Amtrak reached a settlement of all claims against Amtrak, which were then dismissed with prejudice, barring any contribution claims against it. Because Amtrak's presence in the case was the sole basis for our initial exercise of jurisdiction over the case, Plaintiff requests that the case be remanded to the Circuit Court of Cook County.


A. Motion to Remand

If a civil action filed in state court is one over which the federal district courts have original jurisdiction, the defendant may remove the case to federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1441. The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking to invoke it; therefore, when a defendant seeks to remove an action, the burden is on that party to show that an exercise of jurisdiction is warranted. Workman v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 234 F.3d 998, 999 (7th Cir. 2000). The presence of one claim that can properly be heard by a federal court allows all claims within the case to be heard before that court, pursuant to the supplemental jurisdiction established by 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

If a case containing both federal and state claims is properly removed, but thereafter the underlying federal questions that served as the basis for removal are resolved, a district court can remand a case to the state court where it originated. See United Mine Workers v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726, 86 S.Ct. 1130, 1139 (1966). However, the primary policies underpinning supplemental jurisdiction are the efficient use of scarce judicial resources and the need to avoid duplicative litigation. See Rosado v. Wyman, 397 U.S. 397, 405, 90 S.Ct. 1207, 1214 (1970). This policy can be thwarted if a case is remanded after substantial judicial resources have been committed to it while an independent basis for federal jurisdiction existed, such that the state court would likely engage in repetitive effort upon the case's return. Graf v. Elgin, Joliet & Eastern R. Co., 790 F.2d 1341, 1347-48 (7th Cir. 1986). A ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.