Railroad Flagman Injured In Car Collision Sued for Hazardous Workplace

In Inman v. Baltimore & Ohio R.R. Co., 361 U.S. 138, 4 L. Ed. 2d 198, 80 S. Ct. 242 (1959), an intoxicated motorist ignored the warnings of a railroad crossing, attempted to cross the railroad tracks, and struck plaintiff, a railroad flagman. Plaintiff did not allege that the warning devices malfunctioned at the railroad but offered evidence that the railroad crossing had substantial vehicular traffic. The supreme court found that plaintiff failed to demonstrate a hazardous work place and entered judgment in favor of the railroad. Inman, 361 U.S. at 140-41, 4 L. Ed. 2d at 201, 80 S. Ct. at 244 (1959). Inman, however, is distinguishable because the warning devices and crossing gates in that case were properly working and the sole cause of the accident was the conduct of a third-party who disregarded the warnings at the crossing, crossed the track in front of a train, and struck the flagman. The court refused to find liability because there was no evidence of similar occurrences or any notice to the railroad of a hazardous railroad crossing. Inman, 361 U.S. at 140-41, 4 L. Ed. 2d at 201, 80 S. Ct. at 244.