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.

Georgia Ranked Sixth Nationally For Job Growth

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that  Georgia is ranked sixth nationally and third in the Southeast for top job growth. With the creation of over 79,300 new jobs in the past 12 months, Georgia represents a strong 2.0 percent annual growth rate, which is higher than the nation’s average of 1.8 percent. Georgia also had solid ... (click for more)

Tennessee's Unemployment Rate For August Increased To 7.4%

Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced the Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for August was 7.4 percent, three tenths of one percentage point higher than the 7.1 July revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for August was 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in July. Economic Summary • Over the past year, Tennessee's unemployment ... (click for more)

3 People Shot On Wilson Street; One Victim Has "Life-Threatening" Wounds

Three people were shot on Wilson Street on Sunday night, including one who was critically injured. At approximately 8:22 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 2300 Wilson St. for shots fired in the area. O fficers located two black males suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. O ne victim was transported by HCEMS to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries. ... (click for more)

Jumoke Johnson Jr. To Plead Guilty On Selling Crack Cocaine

A youth who was in the news earlier as a teen who had been the first in his family to graduate from Brainerd High School and who found a patron willing to pay for his college education is set to plead guilty on Tuesday to a charge of selling crack cocaine. Jumoke Johnson Jr., who turned 21 on Saturday, dropped out of Miles College in Alabama after one semester and has been ... (click for more)

Conservation On Signal Mountain

The town of Signal Mountain appointed a working group to put together a conservation easement to protect certain of the town's park lands.  The members of the Conservation Easement Working Group would like to respond to concerns and comments raised about the town’s efforts to protect certain park land from residential or commercial development by granting a conservation ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Late Garden Walk

Due to a series of pressing events I didn’t get a chance to make my September walk through the garden until yesterday. It is normally my custom to take a stroll on the first day of each new month, looking for the orchids and onions that might appear, so I can award them to those among us who deserve one or the other. So before the temperatures drop, allow me to catch up: AN ORCHID ... (click for more)