Superior Court upholds decision in favor of Conrail in case of foreman who suffered heart attack

By Glenn Minnis | Jun 20, 2017

PHILADELPHIA — The state Superior Court earlier this year affirmed a lower court’s decision in a lawsuit in which a former Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) employee claimed negligence by the company after he suffered a heart attack on the job.

The court released its decision in March after Carrie L. Jackson had filed the appeal on behalf of the estate of her now deceased husband, Robert A. Jackson.

Robert Jackson was hired as a track man for the company in 2008 and fell ill while working with a jackhammer at the company's Bayonne Depot in New Jersey on March 28, 2011.

Despite Jackson telling co-workers he did not want to go to a nearby walk-in medical facility for treatment and instead planned to wait and go to a “real hospital” near his home, attorneys for Carrie Jackson argued that Conrail officials were negligent in not making sure that he received immediate medical assistance.

Robert Jackson ultimately had surgery and was hospitalized for up to four weeks. He never returned to work and died on July 12, 2014, nearly four months after he formally filed his complaint.

During trial, Dr. Donald Rubenstein testified as an expert witness that Jackson’s heart attack was caused by his employment. Robert Jackson also testified during the proceedings via videotaped deposition. 

On June 22, 2015, a jury of 12 returned a verdict in favor of Conrail and ordered that no damages be awarded. As part of their request for an appeal, attorneys for Jackson were adamant that the jury’s 10-2 verdict in favor of Conrail was “against the weight of the evidence.”

In rendering its decision, the Superior Court ruled “evidence did not establish that defendant was negligent and/or that defendant’s negligence played any part in Mr. Jackson’s heart attack. The jury demonstrates that it found that the conduct of Conrail employees was ‘what a reasonable and prudent person would have done under the same circumstances.'”

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Consolidated Rail Corporation Superior Court of Pennsylvania

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