Sunday, March 24, 2013

Robb v. The Pennsylvania Railroad Co. case brief

Robb v. The Pennsylvania Railroad Co. case brief summary
210 A.2d 709 (Del. 1965)

SYNOPSIS: Appellant injured party sought review of the decision of trial court (Delaware), dismissing her action against appellee railroad in her action to recover for the physical consequences of fright caused by the railroad's negligence.

OVERVIEW: The injured party was driving over the railroad's grade crossing when her vehicle stalled. Due to a rut that had been allowed to form at the crossing, she was unable to move the vehicle. Upon seeing a train bearing down, the injured party leapt from her vehicle and her vehicle was destroyed by the train. As a result of the incident, she suffered no impact with the train, but her fright and shock caused injuries, including the cessation of lactation. The trial court dismissed the action based on the impact rule and the injured party appealed.

-The court reversed and remanded, refusing to apply the impact rule.
-The court held that although there could be no recovery for fright alone, the injured party sought recover for injuries received as a consequence of the fright.

The court rejected the impact rule, holding that it was not necessary that the injured party was contemporaneously injured where she could prove she was in the zone of danger, and that she suffered physical injuries as a result of her fright. The court held that it could not preclude the injured party from recovery simply because it could lead to increased litigation and speculative damages.

OUTCOME: The court reversed and remanded the decision of the trial court, which dismissed the injured party's action against the railroad.

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