Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rodriguez v. Santa Fe Railway

January 30, 2009

LUCIO CORRAL RODRIGUEZ, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS SUCCESSOR MARICRUZ CORRAL, AND LUCIO IN INTEREST TO THE DECEDENTS, ANTHONY CORRAL, PLAINTIFFS,
COUNTY OF STANISLAUS, CITY OF MODESTO, CITY OF RIVERBANK,
v.
SANTA FE RAILWAY; AND DOES 1 TO CALIFORNIA, BURLINGTON NORTHERN STATE OF CALIFORNIA, AMTRAK DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

SCHEDULING CONFERENCE ORDER Discovery Cut-Off: 6/1/10 Non-Dispositive Motion Filing Deadline: 6/15/10 Dispositive Motion Filing Deadline: 7/1/10 6/10/10 10:00 Ctrm. 10 Settlement Conference Date: 200, Pre-Trial Conference Date: ) 9/7/10 11:00 Ctrm. 3 Trial Date: 10/19/10 9:00 Ctrm. 3 (JT-40 days)

I. Date of Scheduling Conference

January 30, 2009.

III. Summary of Pleadings

A. Plaintiffs' Summary

1. At the intersection of Claribel Road and Terminal Avenue in the County of Stanislaus, on the border between the City of Modesto and the City of Riverbank, there is a four-way stop sign. Approximately 45 feet west of the stop sign of the eastbound lane of Claribel Road, there is a railroad grade crossing, where a single track of BNSF's Stockton Subdivision crosses Claribel Road, heading in a north-south direction.

2. On or about May 8, 2007, Maricruz Corral was traveling eastbound on Claribel Road. She was driving the Chevrolet Tracker owned by Plaintiff Lucio Corral Rodriguez. Ivan Alexander Corral, Lucio Anthony Corral, Diana Villareal-Lopez, Ramona Lopez-Verduga, and Brian Armenta-Lopez were all passengers in the vehicle. As Maricruz Corral approached the railroad grade crossing on Claribel Road, just west of Terminal Avenue, there were cars backed up behind the stop sign at the intersection of Claribel Road and Terminal Avenue. Maricruz Corral pulled up behind the stopped cars as is typical of cars traveling on that road. Similarly, the car behind her pulled up directly behind her. As a train, owned by the State of California and operated by Amtrak-California was approaching, traveling in a northbound direction, Maricruz Corral was unable to move backward and clear the tracks due to the vehicle stopped behind her. Then, the crossing arm came down, further blocking Maricruz Corral's exit from the tracks in a westward direction. Maricruz Corral attempted to clear the tracks in an eastward direction, and the train struck the vehicle.

3. All of the vehicle's occupants died at the scene as a result of the collision.

4. Plaintiff has brought claims against the County of Stanislaus, the City of Modesto, the City of Riverbank, the State of California, BNSF Railroad, and Amtrak-California, for dangerous conditions of land, and negligence, and Plaintiff is seeking to add National Railroad Passenger Corp. as a Doe to these claims.

5. Plaintiff's claims fall into two distinct categories. There are those claims based on the ownership, maintenance, condition, and operation of the train, on the one hand, and those claims based on the condition of the grade crossing and the surrounding area, on the other.

6. Plaintiff has brought all claims as against each Defendant, but more specifically, Plaintiff is informed and believes that the State of California owns the subject train, and Amtrak-California is responsible for its operation. Plaintiff is further informed and believes that Amtrak-California is comprised of two other entities, the State of California and National Railroad Passenger Corp.

7. National Railroad Passenger Corporation cross-claimed against Plaintiff for negligent ownership and maintenance of the subject vehicle; against decedent Maricruz Corral for negligent operation of the subject vehicle; and against all other Defendants for indemnity and contribution.

B. Defendants National Railroad Passenger Corporation and BNSF Railway Company contend as follows:

1. At the intersection of Claribel Road and Terminal Avenue in an unincorporated section of the County of Stanislaus, there is a four-way stop sign. Approximately 45 feet west of the stop sign of the eastbound lane of Claribel Road, there is a railroad grade crossing, where a single track of BNSF's Stockton Subdivision crosses Claribel Road, heading in a north-south direction. The railroad crossing is equipped with train-activated warning devices, including, but not limited to, mast-mounted flashing lights, gongs and crossing gates.

2. On or about May 8, 2007, Maricruz Corral was traveling eastbound on Claribel Road. She was driving the Chevrolet Tracker owned by Plaintiff Lucio Corral Rodriguez. Ivan Alexander Corral, Lucio Anthony Corral, Diana Villareal-Lopez, Ramona Lopez-Verduga, and Brian Armenta-Lopez were all passengers in the vehicle. As Maricruz Corral approached the railroad grade crossing on Claribel Road, just west of Terminal Avenue, there were cars backed up behind the stop sign at the intersection of Claribel Road and Terminal Avenue. Maricruz Corral pulled up behind the stopped cars and stopped her car on the tracks. As a train, owned by the State of California and operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, was approaching traveling in a northbound direction, Maricruz Corral failed to clear the tracks, and the train struck the vehicle. All of the vehicle's occupants died at the scene as a result of the collision. Defendants National Railroad Passenger Corporation and BNSF Railway Company contend that Maricruz Corral's presence on the tracks and inability to clear the tracks were the result of her own negligence.

3. Plaintiff has brought claims against the County of Stanislaus, the City of Modesto, the City of Riverbank, the State of California, BNSF Railroad Company (erroneously sued as Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway), and National Railroad Passenger Corporation (erroneously sued as Amtrak-California), for dangerous conditions of land, and negligence.

4. National Railroad Passenger Corporation cross-claimed against Plaintiff for negligent ownership and maintenance of the subject vehicle; against decedent Maricruz Corral for negligent operation of the subject vehicle; and against all other defendants for indemnity and contribution.

5. Finally, Defendants National Railroad Passenger Corporation and BNSF Railway Company object to any and all references herein to "Defendant Amtrak-California."

6. Defendant City of Modesto contends that at the intersection of Claribel Road and Terminal Avenue, in an unincorporated section of the County of Stanislaus, there is a four-way stop sign.

IV. Orders Re Amendments To Pleadings

1. Any motions to amend pleadings shall be filed within fifteen (15) days following this conference, on or before February 15, 2009. Responses shall be due March 2, 2009. Any reply shall be filed by March 9, 2009. The matter shall be heard on April 13, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 3.

V. Factual Summary

A. Admitted Facts Which Are Deemed Proven Without Further Proceedings

1. At the intersection of Claribel Road and Terminal Avenue in the County of Stanislaus, there is a four-way stop sign.

2. Approximately 45 feet west of the stop sign of the eastbound lane of Claribel Road, there is a railroad grade crossing, where a single track of BNSF's Stockton Subdivision crosses Claribel Road, heading in a north-south direction.

3. On or about May 8, 2007, Maricruz Corral was traveling eastbound on Claribel Road. She was driving the Chevrolet Tracker owned by Plaintiff Lucio Corral Rodriguez.

4. Ivan Alexander Corral, Lucio Anthony Corral, Diana Villareal-Lopez, Ramona Lopez-Verduga, and Brian Armenta-Lopez were all passengers in the subject vehicle.

5. A train collided with the vehicle being operated by Maricruz Corral at the above-described grade crossing.

6. The subject train was owned by the State of California.

7. The subject train was operating on tracks owned by BNSF Railway.

8. All of the occupants in the subject vehicle died at the scene as a result of the collision.

B. Contested Facts

1. All other facts are contested.

VI. Legal Issues

A. Uncontested

1. Removal jurisdiction is contested.

2. If jurisdiction exists, venue is proper in the Eastern District of California, Fresno Division, under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

3. Plaintiff contends that California State law governs the entire action. Defendant, National Railroad Passenger Corp., and BNSF Railway Company, contend that Federal law governs to the extent it preempts state law under the Federal Rail Safety Act, and any other applicable Federal statutes and related case law.

B. Contested

1. As an example, state law claims of unreasonable train speed are pre-empted if the train was traveling within the speed restrictions set by the Federal Railroad Administration. CSX Transp., Inc. v. Easterwood, 507 U.S. 658, 675-76 (1993).

2. Ownership of the subject train, whether the State of California is legal owner.

3. Whether Plaintiff is entitled to recover damages for wrongful death under California law, C.C.P. § 377.60, or under the State Survival Statute, California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.20.

VII. Consent to Magistrate Judge Jurisdiction

1. The parties have not consented to transfer the case to the Magistrate Judge for all purposes, including trial.

VIII. Corporate Identification Statement

1. Any non-governmental corporate party to any action in this court shall file a statement identifying all its parent corporations and listing any entity that owns 10% or more of the party's equity securities. A party shall file the statement with its initial pleading filed in this court and shall supplement the statement within a reasonable time of any change in the information.

IX. Discovery Plan and Cut-Off Date

1. The parties agree that discovery shall be phased.

2. The first phase, which shall commence February 2, 2009, and continue through and including April 6, 2009, shall address ownership and control issues, status and capacity of the parties, legal relationship of the parties, and all other facts that concern the ownership, operation, and maintenance of the track grade crossing, train, and any other instrumentalities that are involved in this case and the status and relationship of all potentially responsible parties as well as the claimants.

A. Plaintiff's Proposed Discovery Plan

1. Plaintiff intends on seeking discovery including depositions of individuals; deposition(s) pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6); and request for production of documents pursuant to Rule 34 on Defendant Amtrak-California and the State of California as follows:

a. Documents and a PMK on the nature of the relationship between the State of California and National Railroad Passenger Corp.

b. Documents and a PMK on any and all agreements between the State of California and National Railroad Passenger Corp.

c. Documents and a PMK on any and all correspondence between the State of California and National Railroad Passenger Corp. concerning any and all agreements.

d. Documents and a PMK on any and all correspondence between the State of California and National Railroad Passenger Corp. concerning the operation of the Amtrak-California train routes.

e. Documents and a PMK on any division of responsibility between the State of California and National Railroad Passenger Corp. for operation of the Amtrak-California train routes.

f. Documents and a PMK on the State of California's participation in operation of trains owned by the State and operated by Amtrak-California.

g. Documents and a PMK on the State of California's participation in safety oversight on trains owned by the State and operated by Amtrak-California.

2. Plaintiff intends on seeking discovery including depositions of individuals; deposition(s) pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6); and requests for production of documents pursuant to Rule 34 on Defendant County of Stanislaus, City of Modesto, and/or City of Riverbank as follows:

a. Documents and a PMK on title to the subject land.

b. Documents and a PMK on any easements and/or rights of way for the subject crossing and subject intersection.

c. Documents and a PMK on any agreements between County of Stanislaus and any other public or private entity for control, maintenance, design, repair, and/or oversight of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.