Intoxicated Pedestrian's Own Recklessness Found to Be the Sole Cause of his Death When Struck By LIRR Train
In May 2016 a unanimous appellate court in New York dismissed a Queens County lawsuit, even before a trial was held, finding that there was proof that the LIRR had not been careless in operating a train across the Stewart Avenue grade crossing at the Bethpage train station. The pedestrian who had been drinking (and likely lulled into a false sense of security because a train had just passed) ducked under a lowered pedestrian safety gate and walked across the tracks amidst ringing bells, flashing lights and an announcement: "Warning, second train coming." The decedent's blood alcohol level was 0.12% at death. His sister who accompanied him was able to step back out of the way and avoid injury.
It was found as a matter of law (meaning any jury verdict finding for the plaintiff would have to be thrown out) that the decedent's conduct was so reckless that it evidenced a wanton disregard for his own personal safety. Such recklessness severs any causal link between the accident and any alleged negligence of the railroad. Tisdell v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Appellate Division, Second Department.
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