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BLOOM v. CONRAIL

February 4, 1993

JERALD E. BLOOM
v.
CONSOLIDATED RAIL CORPORATION



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES B. SMITH

 CHARLES B. SMITH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

 FEBRUARY 4, 1993

 I. INTRODUCTION

 Plaintiff, Jerald E. Bloom, brought this action against his former employer, Consolidated Rail Corporation *fn1" ("Conrail"), pursuant to the Federal Employers' Liability Act ("FELA"), 45 U.S.C. § 51, et seq., for his psychiatric injuries that arose after the train he was driving struck and killed a pedestrian. Plaintiff claims that Conrail is liable under FELA because his injuries resulted from the manner in which a Conrail patrolman treated him after the incident and because Conrail failed to provide plaintiff with psychiatric treatment after prior incidents.

 This case was assigned to the Honorable William H. Yohn, Jr., however, the parties have consented to trial before me. Presently before this Court is Defendant Conrail's Motion for Summary Judgment. For the following reasons, Conrail's Motion will be denied.

 II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 Viewing the facts in favor of Plaintiff, I accept the following for purposes of this Motion: Plaintiff had been employed by the railroad in engine service since 1956 and became an engineer in 1966 or 1967. During his career, Plaintiff was involved with four incidents where people were killed when they or their automobiles were struck by Plaintiff's locomotives. This action concerns mainly the fourth and final incident, but I will briefly describe the other three. It appears that the first occurred in the 1960s when a woman intentionally parked her car on the tracks with herself and her five children in the car. They were all killed when Plaintiff's freight train hit them.

 The date of the next incident is not in the record, but a man parked his car on the tracks and was killed on impact with Plaintiff's train. It was determined that this man had also committed suicide. The third incident occurred in the spring of 1986, when Plaintiff's train again hit and killed a man in his car. In each of these incidents, Plaintiff was not at fault because he could not have stopped his train prior to the impacts. Nonetheless, he was shaken by these incidents and said that he requested help to cope with them. No counselling or psychiatric treatment was offered, nor did Plaintiff seek any such treatment on his own.

 The final incident, the one most pertinent to this case, occurred on October 28, 1986. At approximately 2:30 p.m., Plaintiff was operating a Conrail train between Conway, Pennsylvania and Altoona, Pennsylvania. As the train was travelling westbound through Ambridge, Pennsylvania, it struck and killed Mr. Robert W. Compton. Mr. Compton, a pedestrian, intentionally stood on the track in front of the train to commit suicide.

 When Plaintiff saw Mr. Compton step onto the tracks, he began blowing the horn and ringing the bell on the train and he and the other two men in the engine, Mr. Bucco and Mr. Finnefrock, started to yell to Mr. Compton. Mr. Compton never responded to any of these calls and it was impossible for Plaintiff to stop the train in time.

 After the impact, Plaintiff was still trying to stop the train and he began to feel faint, lightheaded and nauseous. He hit his head on the electrical cabinet of the engine as a result. Plaintiff described his condition as follows:

 
I was sicker than a dog. I couldn't sit in the engineer's seat. It felt so hot that I couldn't sit in it at all. I never got back in the seat again after that . . . It just shook the hell out of me. (Bloom Depo. p. 49).

 Shortly after the impact, a Conrail patrolman boarded the engine to investigate the incident. He told Plaintiff he needed a witness to show him what part of the train struck Mr. Compton. Plaintiff protested and said that he was not going out because he did not feel well. At this point the Conrail patrolman grabbed Plaintiff, pushed him toward the door, and told him he had to go out because he had to have a witness. Then Plaintiff exited the train with the ...


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