Bertha and Jessie Parks (plaintiffs) were injured when their car collided with Illinois Central Gulf Railroad’s (defendant) train. Bertha and Jessie sued the railroad and the train's engineer, alleging negligence. Jessie sought damages for loss of Bertha’s services and consortium, and Bertha sought damages for her personal injuries. The railroad and engineer alleged that Jessie was contributorily negligent. A jury found in Bertha's favor against the railroad and awarded her damages, but the jury found that the engineer hadn't been negligent. The jury also found in favor of the railroad and the engineer on Jessie's loss-of-consortium claim. When Jessie subsequently brought a negligence action against the railroad and the engineer for his own injuries, the railroad and engineer again claimed that Jessie was contributorily negligent. Both parties moved for summary judgment. The trial court denied the railroad's motion, holding that the prior judgment was not an adjudication of Jessie's contributory negligence, and that remained an issue for trial. The railroad appealed.