The Nebraska Court of Appeals has granted the mother of a deceased 15-year old a chance to present her case to a jury, reversing the dismissal of a lower Court. The case stems from a crossing accident in which the plaintiff’s ex-husband was traveling in a car along with his 15 year old son and drove onto train tracks in December of 2007, failing to adhere to the warning lights and oncoming train’s horn in December of 2007.
The lower Court granted Union Pacific’s Motion to Dismiss based upon allegations that the negligence of the father was the sole proximate cause of the collision. The plaintiff alleged that Union Pacific was also negligent by failing to remove the concrete signal base which the ex-husband’s vehicle was pushed into by the train upon impact.
Although the lower court dismissed the case stating the state law in effect at the time of the crash required the father to be grossly negligent in order to be held liable for damages, the appeals court reversed the dismissal, stating a jury should decide the merits of the plaintiff’s claims that the concrete barrier constituted active negligence by Union Pacific. The appeals decision stated that the matter of gross negligence was a factual dispute to be decided by the trier of fact, a jury.