Supreme Court Reinstates Jury Verdict For Railroad

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Tennessee Supreme Court reinstated a jury verdict denying recovery for a railroad employee who claimed he was injured as the result of a faulty railroad switch. Andrew Spencer sued Norfolk Southern Railway after injuring his back on May 16, 2010, when he threw a switch in an effort to move a section of track. 

In order to recover damages, Mr. Spencer was required to prove that Norfolk Southern knew or should have known that the switch was not operating properly and failed to take adequate precautionary measures prior to the incident.

The instruction to the jury specified the railroad knew or should have known “on the day of the incident” that the switch wasn’t working.  Mr. Spencer appealed, claiming the trial court had erroneously narrowed the “notice window” and required him to prove that the railroad was specifically aware on the day of the injury, not just some time prior to the incident.

In a unanimous opinion authored by Chief Justice Gary Wade, the Court ruled that the trial judge’s instructions were substantially accurate and he had properly instructed the jury on whether Norfolk Southern had notice of a defect in the switch, reversing a Court of Appeals decision that held that the instruction was erroneous. 

To read the majority opinion in Andrew Spencer v. Norfolk Southern Railway authored by Chief Justice Wade, visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov.

Northwest Georgia’s Unemployment Rate Rises To 6.5 Percent In December

The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that the unemployment rate in the Northwest Georgia region in December was 6.5 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from 6.4 percent in November. The rate in December 2013 was 7.2 percent. The rate rose in December as 9,359 new claims for unemployment insurance were filed, an increase of 6,180, or 194.4 percent, from ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Business Calendar Jan. 31-Feb. 7

MO/2 Entrepreneur Bookkeeping Noon to 1:00 p.m. TN Small Business Development Center: 100 Cherokee Blvd. Presenter: Lynn Talbott, PHR, HR Business Solutions, LLC The instructor will review the top 10 bookkeeping mistakes, as well as practical solutions to overcome these issues and ideas on office efficiency. Other topics include how to set up your QuickBooks or accounts ... (click for more)

Girl Stabs Boy Twice At Lookout Valley Middle High School

A female student stabbed a male student twice at Lookout Valley Middle High School on Thursday morning. Sheriff Jim Hammond the students are seventh graders. He  said the boy was taken by ambulance and went into surgery after the mid-morning stabbing.  He said the boy received a superficial wound to the neck and a more serious wound to the stomach.  However, ... (click for more)

Chief Fletcher Gives Maximum Punishment To Officer Who Fired At Vehicle That Backed Toward Him; Attorney Vows To Fight To Reverse Decision

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher has given a maximum punishment to an officer who fired four shots toward a vehicle after he said the driver backed into his vehicle with him standing behind it. Chief Fletcher sustained a finding of “improper use of force – discharge of firearm.” He suspended Officer Alex Olson for 30 days without pay – the maximum suspension allowed ... (click for more)

Shelley Andrews Will Be Missed - And Response

Shelley Andrews was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and most effective laborers in our community.  Her work with the Friends of Moccasin Bend was exemplary.  She listened, she learned and she led with dignity and class. Her brave battle with ovarian cancer was a testament to her positive spirit and commitment to her work on behalf of the people of this region. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: This One’s For ‘Grifter’

Back in October of 2013 a Facebook page called “OAF Nation” was created to “boost the morale” of the heroes who make up our nation’s military.” It was tongue-in-cheek satire, putting funny captions on every-day pictures that showed members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard as they defended our country. Our fighting men and women loved it. It quickly went viral and today ... (click for more)