Easterwood v. CSX Transp., Inc.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
Citation742 F. Supp. 676
Docket NumberCiv. A. 4:88-CV-0141-RLV.
PartiesLizzie Beatrice EASTERWOOD, Plaintiff, v. CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC., Defendant.
Decision Date08 August 1990

James I. Parker and William Lee Lundy, Parker & Lundy, Cedartown, Ga., for plaintiff.

Jack Senterfitt and Richard T. Fulton, Alston & Bird, Atlanta, Ga., for defendant.


VINING, District Judge.

This negligence action is before the court on the defendant's motion for summary judgment and the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of the court's oral grant of summary judgment after hearing arguments by the parties. Also pending is the plaintiff's motion to file supplemental evidence in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. Having considered the parties' briefs and oral arguments, the court hereby GRANTS the defendant's motion for summary judgment and DENIES the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration and motion to supplement the record.

The plaintiff seeks to file with the court supplemental evidence supporting its motion for reconsideration of the court's March 22, 1990, oral grant of summary judgment for the defendant. This motion is premised on the plaintiff's argument that she did not have sufficient time to adequately respond to the motion for summary judgment because the action was on a trial calendar scheduled to begin approximately four weeks after the filing of the motion for summary judgment. The court, however, finds this argument insufficient to justify the court's consideration of such evidence at this late stage of the proceedings.

After reviewing the parties' summary judgment briefs this action was removed from the trial calendar and oral arguments were scheduled for March 22, 1990. At no time during this three month delay or prior to oral arguments did the plaintiff file with the court additional affidavits or exhibits or a motion to extend time. Instead, at oral arguments plaintiff's counsel sought to introduce a single additional affidavit. The court refused to consider the affidavit because it was not filed prior to the hearing of the motion for summary judgment. Similarly, plaintiff now seeks to file with the court evidence intended to create genuine issues of material fact in an attempt to avoid summary judgment. The court, however, finds no justification for the plaintiff's failure to produce evidence available or known to her at the time of the original hearing. Accordingly, the court finds that such evidence was not filed in a timely manner and will not be considered.

In this action the plaintiff seeks damages for the death of Thomas Easterwood, ("Easterwood"), in connection with an accident involving Easterwood and a CSXT train on February 24, 1988, at the Cook Street crossing in the City of Cartersville, Georgia. The plaintiff alleges that CSXT was negligent in failing to install gate arms at the Cook Street crossing, in operating the train at an unsafe speed, and in allowing vegetation to grow along the side of the track thus preventing Easterwood from seeing the train.1

The defendant argues that Easterwood, without slowing or stopping, drove his motor vehicle through the activated red flashing warning lights and, in disregard of the train whistle, into the path of the oncoming train. Therefore, the defendant contends, there was no actionable negligence by CSXT or its agents. The defendant seeks summary judgment as to all claims based on the absence of evidence showing that the defendant's negligence was the proximate cause of the railroad crossing accident or, in the alternative, summary judgment on three of the plaintiff's claims which, the defendant argues, are preempted by federal law.

Under the supremacy clause, when Congress manifests an intent that federal law occupy and control a certain field, states are precluded from interfering with the federal law. Federal preemption insures that a state's statutory and common law principles do not conflict with or frustrate the accomplishment of any federal mandate. See Edmondson v. International Playtex, Inc., 678 F.Supp. 1571 (N.D.Ga. 1987); Staggs v. Chrysler Corp., 678 F.Supp. 270 (N.D.Ga.1987). The defendant contends it is entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiff's claim that the accident was caused by the defendant's operation of the train at a speed greater than reasonable based on federal preemption.

It is well established that Congress, through the pervasive federal regulation of railroads in the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 ("FRSA"), 45 U.S.C. § 421 et seq., intended to establish nationally uniform railroad safety and preempt state regulation of railroads. See Donelon v. New Orleans Terminal Co., 474 F.2d 1108 (5th Cir.1976). The FRSA specifically controls the speed at which trains may operate by classifying sections of track and assigning to each classification a maximum speed...

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10 cases
  • Akin v. Missouri Pacific R. Co.
    • United States
    • Oklahoma Supreme Court
    • October 13, 1998
    ...Chevron?: Presumption and Deference in Regulatory Preemption, 45 CASE W. RES. L. REV. 823, 841 n. 79 (1995).19 Easterwood v. CSX Transp. Inc., 742 F.Supp. 676 (N.D.Ga.1990).20 FRSA's initial codification in Title 45 was repealed in 1994. The recodification took place pursuant to Pub.L. No. ......
  • Wermerskirchen v. Canadian Nat'l R.R.
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • March 5, 2021
    ...in allowing vegetation to grow along the side of the track thus preventing Easterwood from seeing the train.Easterwood v. CSX Transp., Inc. , 742 F. Supp. 676, 678 (N.D. Ga. 1990). ...
  • Hatfield v. Burlington Northern R. Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Kansas
    • February 7, 1991
    ...in part on Marshall, but did not state which rationale the court was following. In another very recent case, Easterwood v. CSX Transportation, Inc., 742 F.Supp. 676 (N.D.Ga.1990), the court basically followed the Marshall rationale but concluded preemption 6 It should be noted that the cour......
  • Csx Transportation, Inc v. Easterwood Easterwood v. Csx Transportation, Inc
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • April 21, 1993
    ...Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted summary judgment for CSX on the ground that both claims were pre-empted. 742 F.Supp. 676, 678 (1990). The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that respondent's allegation of negligence ba......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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