Edgebrook Metra station
The Edgebrook Metra station. Image: Zol87/Flickr/CC BY-SA

An Illinois appeals court decided Thursday that a particularly “gory and creepy” lawsuit can go ahead. A woman, who was injured by flying body parts, is suing a deceased man.

A horrific accident

The incident happened on a morning in 2008 at the Edgebrook Metra commuter train station in Chicago. It was a rainy morning, and Hiroyuki Joho, an 18-year-old commuter, was not looking where he going as he shielded himself from the rain with his umbrella. He stepped in front of a speeding Amtrak train that was going in excess of 70 mph. Several witnesses reported that Joho was smiling as the train struck him.

A hundred feet away, Gayane Zokhrabov, then 58, was struck by a flying, unspecified “body part.” The impact knocked her to the floor and left her with a broken leg and wrist and an injured shoulder.

Case originally dismissed

When Zokhrabov tried to sue Joho’s estate, the case was thrown out by a Cook County judge who said that Joho could not reasonably have anticipated the grisly event.

Appeals courts disagrees

However, a state appeals court has ruled differently. The Illinois judge found that “it was reasonably foreseeable” for Joho to predict that, if struck by a speeding train, he might injure bystanders with airborne body parts. The incident was likened to a train passenger being injured after the engineer engaged the brakes.

Leslie Rosen, Zokhrabov’s lawyer, argued that it was a simple case of negligence on Joho’s part, in spite of being “very peculiar and gory and creepy.” She said:

“If you do something as stupid as this guy did, you have to be responsible for what comes from it.”

Mother sued railroads

According to the Chicago Tribune, Joho’s mother, Jeung-Hee Park, sued Metra and the Canadian Pacific Railway for neglecting to announce a train delay. She maintains that the delay is what caused her son to step in front of a train. The judge in that case ruled  against Park, saying that the railroads had no duty to warn passengers of every delay.

Park’s attorney, Keith Davidson, told the Chicago Tribune that he plans to appeal that case to the Illinois appellate court as well.


Gawker: http://gawker.com/5871847/man-killed-in-train-accident-sued-by-woman-his-flying-body-parts-injured
Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-train-death-lawsuit-20111229,0,1119897.story
US News and World Report: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/29/9804789-suit-over-injury-from-a-flying-body-part-can-go-forward-illinois-court-says

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