from the Order Entered June 11, 2015 In the Court of Common
Pleas of Philadelphia County Civil Division at No(s):
BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., OTT, J., and FITZGERALD, J.
Welsh, having brought a negligence action under the Federal
Employers' Liability Act ("FELA"), appeals from
the order entered June 11, 2015, in the Court of Common Pleas
of Philadelphia County, that granted summary judgment in
favor of National Railroad Passenger Corporation a/k/a/
Amtrak ("Amtrak"). Welsh claims the trial court
erred in (1) failing to consider signed but unsworn
statements from three present and/or former Amtrak police
officers in support of Welsh's opposition to summary
judgment, (2) treating Welsh's general denials and
denials based on conclusions of law in response to
Amtrak's summary judgment motion as admissions, and (3)
granting summary judgment despite the existence of evidence
of a reasonably unsafe work place in a FELA
action. Based upon the following, we affirm.
facts underlying this appeal were summarized by the trial
On August 16, 2012, beginning at 9 p.m., Mr. Welsh was
assigned to surveillance at the Penn Coach Yards which are
the train yards at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.
According to Mr. Welsh, there was no briefing given for this
assignment, or any discussion as to what would happen if
there was any suspect activity in the Yard. The grounds of
Penn Coach Yards were in poor condition and have very little
artificial lighting. Depressions, gullies, debris, potholes,
and uneven surfaces exist on the premises. The area around
the Yard is also covered with stone ballast.
During that rainy night, Mr. Welsh and another Amtrak officer
followed a suspect for a period of time via a surveillance
vehicle until contact was lost after the suspect headed
toward a wire shed in the Yard. At some point after his
fellow officer left the surveillance vehicle to run to the
wire shed, Mr. Welsh also left the vehicle and ran toward the
suspect. As he ran roughly seventy-five yards on ballast
stones toward the suspect, Mr. Welsh felt a sharp pain in his
The next day, the symptoms in his lower back became severe as
he felt numbness from his lower back to his legs. Mr. Welsh
alleges he suffered an aggravation of cervical disc disease
and a lumbar disc herniation, for which he underwent surgery.
Court Opinion, 10/6/2015, at 13-14.
complaint provides no substantive details regarding either
the happening of the accident or the injuries allegedly
suffered by Welsh. The complaint states, in relevant part:
9. After there was some activity that required his attention,
[Welsh] began to run in the yard [Amtrak's Penn Coach
Yard] from his location to a storage facility, [Welsh]
injured his back while in route.
10. The area where [Welsh] was required to perform his work
was unsafe and not properly maintained and had not been
inspected. All the acts and omissions giving rise to this
claim occurred in Philadelphia, PA.
9/20/2013, Count I.
September 11, 2014, Welsh was deposed. He gave the following
description of the incident:
Welsh: I know Joe jumped out of the back of the van and I was
a second or two behind him.
A: And then we ran through the compound to the - there's
a rolling gate, a vehicle gate. Joe ran wide of the area so
he was to my right maybe 50-foot and I was to the left and I
was running more directly towards the - to the gate or where
the gate would open up.
Q: Okay. So up until this point, you're observing the
suspect. Is he walking or running through the yard?
A: He was walking.
Q: Okay. And at some point, you said you jump out of the
surveillance truck. Were there any issues when you jumped
out? Did you feel any pain or -
A: No, I don't recall any pain jumping out of the
vehicle. I recall, and my concern was still what was going on
in the compound, but as I was running, I felt a sharp pain in
my right lower back.
N.T. Deposition, 9/11/14, at 148.
Q: Okay. And at this point, he's restrained [the suspect]
and under arrest, and Ron, Frank, and Joe [other officers]
are all present there as well, correct?
Q: Did you mention your injury to any of them?
Q: Okay. And what is the sensation or the pain that you felt
at that point?
A: There was a, I think it was, I know it was down the left
leg, because I had problems lifting my left leg, but the pain
was down the ... center of my back.
Q: Okay. Well, how would you describe the pain?
A: The next day, it was severe.
Q: Okay. At the time of the injury, how would you describe
A: It was fine. I thought it was a 59-year-old guy with sore
muscles. I didn't think anything of it.
Q: Okay. Did you trip at all while running?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Did you slip or twist in any way?
A: No, I don't believe I did. I mean I was running on a
Q: And what were you wearing on this day?
A: The same shoes actually. The same low cut work boots that