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Court Rules Man Killed by Train Can Be Sued Over Bystander's Injuries

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 29, 2011 4:50PM

Image Credit: Terry Spirek

From the "Our Litigious Society" Desk: An appellate court ruled that a woman could sue the estate of a man who was killed by a train three years ago after she sustained injuries when a part of his body struck her.

18-year-old Hiroyuki Joho was crossing tracks at the Edgbrook Metra Station when he was struck by an Amtrak train passing through at 70 mph. Part of Joho's body flew toward the southbound platform, where it struck 58-year-old Gayane Zokhrabov.

Zokhrabov suffered a shoulder injury and a broken leg and wrist. A Cook County judge previously ruled against her in her attempts to sue Joho's estate for negligence, but a state appeals court ruled in favor of Zokhrabov, saying "it was reasonably foreseeable" the train would fling Joho's body toward the platform. Zokhrabov's attorney, Leslie Rosen, argued that the case was a straightforward negligence case, albeit with "very peculiar and gory and creepy" circumstances.

Joho's mother filed negligence cases against Metra and the Canadian Pacific Railway, claiming Joho had no indication that what he thought was a Metra train was an Amtrak train running express. A Cook County Judge ruled against Jeung-Hee Park in that case, saying the railroad had no duty to warn about what he called an "open and obvious danger" as a moving train. That case was upheld on appeal.