Claims Against Railroad and Employee Not Dismissed In Case Alleging Excessive Force and False Imprisonment of Alleged Trespasser.

Plaintiff alleged that she obtained permission from the defendant  railroad company to cross their tracks on foot to go to and from work each day. One day, a railroad employee approached her, told her she was trespassing, and allegedly proceeded to throw her up against a vehicle and choke her. The employee then, according to the plaintiff, forced her to the ground and handcuffed her, arresting her for trespass, assault and battery, and resisting arrest.  The plaintiff was found not guilty of the charges. She then filed her action against the railroad and its employee, alleging, inter alia, negligence, inadequate supervision and hiring of its employees, and false imprisonment.   The defendants filed motions for judgments on the pleadings. The court dismissed the false arrest claims on statute of limitations grounds, but did not dismiss the negligence claims against the railroad, even though the court was “dubious” as to their viability. The plaintiff had pleaded a sufficient claim. The court ruled that the employee was not entitled to qualified immunity at this stage of the proceedings because some evidence suggested he used excessive force, which was outside the protection of qualified immunity.  Hill v. Allen Simmons & Union Pac. R.R. Co., No. CIV-12-211-KEW, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58556 (E.D. Okla. Apr. 28, 2014).

 

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