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Edwards v. Consolidated Rail Corporation

567 F. Supp. 1087 (1983)

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Edwards v. Consolidated Rail Corporation

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

567 F. Supp. 1087 (1983)

Facts

Eleven-year-old Eldee Edwards, Jr. (plaintiff) and three friends rode their bicycles to an isolated railroad of Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) (defendant). Edwards did not see Conrail’s No Unauthorized Vehicles sign. A witness, Charles Riddick, said the train was parked for 20 minutes, and that he had seen children in the area before. The tracks there were through tracks, where trains consistently passed throughout the day rather than being stored for a significant duration. Edwards climbed onto the top of one of the railroad cars and was severely burned by the catenary wires. All three boys did not consider trains dangerous and were not aware of the electrical danger. The catenary wires powered the trains, could not be insulated, and were some 18 feet above the ground and ordinarily inaccessible. Although there were no statutory fencing requirements or other safety regulations, Conrail voluntarily erected fences, posted high-voltage-warning signs, and turned off the current in the catenary wires where trains were stored or the wires came into normal reach. Edwards sued Conrail for negligence. Conrail moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Oberdorfer, J.)

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