Torts I, Page 273–275

Perkins v. Texas and New Orleans R. Co.

Supreme Court of Louisiana, 1962

Facts:

Plaintiff's husband was riding in a vehicle heading south towards a railroad crossing. A warehouse obstructing the trainmen's view of approaching drivers, but they had lights, a horn and a whistle. The crossing also had two stop signs each way and a bell and light activated. Plaintiff's driver nonetheless entered the intersection at 3–25 miles per hours, causing him and plaintiff's husband to be killed by defendant's train. Defendant had a policy to not exceed 25 miles per hour, yet the train was traveling 37 miles per hour. The vehicle was seen in the intersection 30–60 feet before striking it.

Procedural History:

After a bench trial, the district court awarded damages. The Court of Appeal affirmed.

Issue:

Did defendant's speeding cause the accident?

Rule:

Causation must be shown for liability.

Reasoning:

The train took over a thousand feet to stop at 37 miles per hour. Slowing 12 miles per hour, would not reduce that to under 60. Plaintiff failed to show evidence that the accident could be avoided in another way.

Holding:

No, defendant's speeding did not cause the accident.. Reversed and dismissed at cost.

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