Choate v. Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. (Illinois)

While trespassing on defendants’ railroad tracks, plaintiff Dominic Choate was injured trying to jump onto a moving train in order to impress his girlfriend. Choate, who was almost 13 at the time of the accident, brought suit on the theory that defendants negligently failed to prevent him from jumping onto the moving train. The jury returned a $6.5 million verdict in favor of Choate, which was reduced to $3.9 million to account for the jury’s finding that Choate was 40% at fault. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed. On appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed and directed entry of judgment in favor of defendants. Overruling several Appellate Court decisions, the Illinois Supreme Court held that railroads owe no duty to prevent adolescents from gaining access to moving trains.

Torts & FELA


Brief for the appellant

Reply brief for appellant

Petition for rehearing

Petition for permission to appeal

Brief for appellant (Illinois Supreme Court)

Reply brief (Illinois Supreme Court)


Illinois Supreme Court decision