2008_Phila._Ct._Com._Pl._LEXIS_127,_

2008_Phila._Ct._Com._Pl._LEXIS_127,_ - Page 1 2008 Phila....

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Page 1 2008 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 127, * 16 of 22 DOCUMENTS HENRY CALLAHAN, Plaintiff v. NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER COR- PORATION ("AMTRAK"), Defendant NO. 1338 COMMON PLEAS COURT OF PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, TRIAL DIVISION 2008 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 127 June 6, 2008, Decided SUBSEQUENT HISTORY: [*1] 555 EDA 2008 Affirmed by Callahan v. AMTRAK, 2009 PA Super 132, 2009 Pa. Super. LEXIS 2206 (Pa. Super. Ct., 2009) CASE SUMMARY: PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Plaintiff employee sued defendant passenger railroad company, seeking damages for in- juries he suffered when he fell from a catenary pole while on the job. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the employ- ee and awarded him damages, with a 30 percent reduction for his contributory negligence. The employee and com- pany appealed. The trial court entered its opinion in support of its judgment in favor of the employee. OVERVIEW: The company's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict was properly denied where the jury could have reasonably concluded from the expert testimony that the company should have known that using irregularly spaced rungs on a pole ladder or a bolt in place of a rung was a dangerous condition. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) standards and regulations were properly presented to the jury as evidence of the appropriate stand- ard of care and reasonableness of the respective parties unless some specific Federal Railroad Administration regula- tions or standards applied. A safety expert's testimony was properly admitted given his specialized knowledge as to lad- der safety and fall protection. A company designee's testimony as to which OSHA standard applied to the company was properly restricted as the testimony constituted expert opinion, the designee was not identified as an expert, and there were no export reports related to his opinion. An expert witness's testimony as to her vocational rehabilitation position was properly precluded where the company admitted that it had not offered the employee another position. The remain- ing arguments also lacked merit. OUTCOME: The court recommended that its decision be affirmed. CORE TERMS: pole, hazard, ladder, rung, judgment notwithstanding, contributory negligence, expert witness, new trial, post-trial, vocational, bolt, remittitur, expert opinions, catenary, notice, feet, pain, gap, expert testimony, charging, played, dangerous condition, climbing, mistrial, abuse of discretion, reduction, slightest, adhered, movant, shock LexisNexis(R) Headnotes Civil Procedure > Trials > Judgment as Matter of Law > Judgments Notwithstanding Verdicts [HN1] When reviewing a motion to set aside a verdict or motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, the court uses its discretion to determine whether there is sufficient competent evidence to sustain the verdict. Civil Procedure > Trials > Judgment as Matter of Law > Judgments Notwithstanding Verdicts
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