Monday, September 12, 2011

Jonathan Hirsch v. CSX Transportation Inc.

Sep 9: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Case No. 09-4548. Appealed from the Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland. The Appeals Court says in brief summary, "Following a train crash that allegedly exposed a small town [Painesville, Ohio] to cancer-causing agents, the Plaintiffs-Appellants sought damages on behalf of a putative class. The district court granted summary judgment for the train company, CSX Transportation (CSX), because the Plaintiffs had not established general or specific causation and, as a matter of law, any increased risk of cancer or other diseases was too insignificant to warrant the court's ordering a lengthy period of medical monitoring. We affirm."
    In conclusion the Appeals Court ruled, "The Plaintiffs in this case have failed to produce sufficient evidence such that a reasonable jury could believe that a reasonable physician would order medical monitoring. Our holding today does not foreclose any number of possibilities; for example, perhaps the Plaintiffs might have been able to survive summary judgment had Dr. Kornberg provided some indication of why medical monitoring would be the standard practice for risks this remote. Perhaps, though we do not require blood tests in every toxic tort case, see Redland Soccer Club v. Dep't of the Army, 55 F.3d 827, 847 (3d Cir. 1995), the Plaintiffs might have survived summary judgment had they obtained conclusive medical evidence that they faced a one-in-a-million increased risk of cancer. Those would be harder cases, and we leave them for another day. In this case, the Plaintiffs have failed to show a genuine issue of material fact. We therefore affirm the judgment of the district court."
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Toxics, #CA6]