Houston v. Georgia Northeastern R. Co., Inc.

Decision Date27 November 1989
Docket NumberNo. A89A1946,A89A1946
Citation193 Ga.App. 687,388 S.E.2d 762
PartiesHOUSTON v. GEORGIA NORTHEASTERN RAILROAD COMPANY, INC.
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

Jack M. Smith, Paul D. Horton, Marietta, for appellant.

Alston & Bird, Jack H. Senterfitt, Donna P. Bergeson, Atlanta, for appellee.

McMURRAY, Presiding Judge.

Plaintiff Patricia Houston, a/k/a Patricia Houston Post, brought this action against Georgia Northeastern Railroad Company, Inc., seeking damages for the wrongful death of William Rex Post. Following discovery, defendant moved for summary judgment. The motion was granted and plaintiff appealed.

Viewing the evidence in favor of plaintiff, the party opposing the summary judgment motion, we find the following: On January 5, 1988, Jeff Knowles and Donnie Plumley were driving a train which was owned and operated by defendant. Knowles, the engineer, and Plumley, the brakeman, were defendant's employees.

At about 3:30 p.m., Knowles saw the decedent walking (with the assistance of a cane) near the train tracks. Knowles sounded the horn and rang the bell and the decedent moved aside. Approximately one hour later, Knowles again saw the decedent. This time, however, the decedent was not so near the tracks as to warrant the sounding of the horn or the ringing of the bell. Two hours later, at about 6:30 p.m., Plumley saw a dark figure lying on the tracks. The brakes were applied immediately but it was too late to prevent the train from running over the decedent. An autopsy of the decedent revealed a "blood alcohol level of .33% grams."

At the time of the accident, Knowles and Plumley were keeping a lookout. The train was going approximately 15 miles per hour and the lights were on. The accident occurred more than 50 feet from any railroad grade crossing. Held:

"In Ashworth v. Southern Ry. Co., 116 Ga. 635 (43 S.E. 36, 59 L.R.A. 592), it was held that '[t]he only duty which a railroad company owes in this State to a trespasser on or about its property is not to injure him wantonly or wilfully; but this rule does not relieve the company, under all circumstances, from anticipating the presence of a trespasser upon its property and from taking proper precautions to prevent injury to him'." Central of Ga. R. Co. v. Sharpe, 83 Ga.App. 12, 18(2), 18, 62 S.E.2d 427. In the case sub judice, the evidence demonstrates that defendant's employees proceeded with caution as they made their way down the tracks. The train was going a mere 15 miles per hour and the lights were on. Defendant's employees were keeping a lookout and the brakes were applied as soon as the decedent was spotted. Accordingly, we find no evidence demonstrating that defendant failed to take proper precautions to prevent injury to...

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3 cases
  • Johns v. CSX Transp., Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Georgia
    • 28 Septiembre 2016
    ...care, it [is] up to plaintiff to show by the evidence that there remains a genuine issue for trial." Houston v. Ga. Northeastern R. Co., Inc. 193 Ga.App. 687, 388 S.E.2d 762 (1989) (citing O.C.G.A. § 9–11–56(e) ). Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 46–8–291,No person shall recover damages from a railro......
  • Wall v. Southern Ry. Co., A90A0646
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • 3 Julio 1990
    ...it was incumbent upon [appellant] to make this showing without any aid from OCGA § 46-8-292. [Cit.]" Houston v. Ga. Northeastern R. Co., 193 Ga.App. 687, 688, 388 S.E.2d 762 (1989). Appellee contends that "[t]he mere act of stopping railroad cars on a crossing for such a length of time as m......
  • Bridges v. Clarke, A89A1723
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • 27 Noviembre 1989
    ... ... 685 ... No. A89A1723 ... Court of Appeals of Georgia ... Nov. 27, 1989 ...         [193 Ga.App. 687] ... ...
1 books & journal articles
  • A Better Orientation for Jury Instructions - Charles M. Cork, Iii
    • United States
    • Mercer University School of Law Mercer Law Reviews No. 54-1, September 2002
    • Invalid date
    ...S.E.2d 502, 505 (1986). 245. Wall v. S. R.R., 196 Ga. App. 483, 483-85, 396 S.E.2d 266, 266-67 (1990); Houston v. Ga. Northeastern R.R., 193 Ga. App. 687, 688, 388 S.E.2d 762, 763 (1989); S. R.R. v. James, 170 Ga. App. 73, 73-74, 316 S.E.2d 159, 159-60 (1984); Seaboard Coast Line R.R. v. Wr......

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