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Home » Blog » Jury Instruction Regarding Notice and Foreseeability

Jury Instruction Regarding Notice and Foreseeability


Case: Andrew Spencer v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company

Issue: Did the jury instructions improperly limit notice and foreseeability of a dangerous condition to the day of the accident in a FELA case?

Facts: Employee sued Employer railroad for negligence under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. After a jury trial, the trial court entered judgment on the jury’s verdict finding that Employer railroad was not at fault for Employee’s injury. Employee appealed asserting that the trial court erroneously limited the jury instruction regarding notice and foreseeability to the day of the incident.

Appellate Decision: The intermediate court agreed with the Plaintiff and reversed and remanded for a new trial, holding that the instructions should have “look[ed] at the more expanded period of time of before the accident occurred.”

Review Granted: November 13, 2013.

Prediction: David believes that the supreme court will likely affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals and hold that limiting the jury instruction regarding notice and foreseeability to the day of incident was reversible error, especially in light of closing argument focused on that issue.