Railroad Derailment Alleging Personal Injuries Cannot Be Certified As Class Action

The Illinois Supreme Court held that it was not appropriate to certify a class of personal injury plaintiffs who received injuries as a result of chemical exposure after a train derailment.

The holding:  "Although proof of the cause of the derailment will be relatively straightforward, this alone will not establish the Railroad’s liability. Proof of proximate causation and damages will be highly individualized and will consume the bulk of the time at trial. Because the statutory requirement of predominance cannot be met in this case, we hold that the circuit court abused its discretion in certifying the class."

The case is Smith v. Illinois Central Railroad Company,  Docket No. 102060 (Ill. S. Ct. 11/30/06);  read it here.