Teen severely injured after being hit by train in Wyandotte has case against railroad reinstated

The Michigan Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against a railroad, 10 years after a teen listening to music was struck by a train and severely injured in suburban Detroit.

The court said a judge misinterpreted a 19th-century old case and made other incorrect conclusions while ruling in favor of Grand Trunk Western Railroad.

Jacob Marion, who was 14 at the time, was struck by a train as he walked down tracks while wearing headphones in Wyandotte in 2012.

The conductor and engineer saw the boy and sounded a horn, but the train’s emergency brake wasn’t activated in time to avoid the collision, according to the appeals court’s summary of the event.

Judge Annette Berry applied a case from the 19th century, in which a deaf person was struck by a railroad hand car, and said train operators tried to alert Jacob but he didn’t respond.

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But the appeals court, among other things, said tort law has come a long way since 1899. The lawsuit now will return to Wayne County court.

"A reasonable jury could conclude that defendants had Jacob in plain sight and recognized his peril for a period of time sufficient to react so as not to strike him," Judge Elizabeth Gleicher wrote last week.