Two years ago, on January 29, 2010, Broomall resident Peter Yeremian got on the 100 (aka Norristown High Speed Line) at about 8pm. He was pretty drunk. He rode the 100 all the way up to Norristown and back to 69th Street. When the 100 pulled into 69th Street Station, he was discovered dead.
Yeremian’s father, also named Peter Yeremian, sued SEPTA for negligence. Last week, a federal court denied his complaint.
“While the Court sympathizes with Plaintiff’s untimely loss of his son, the law is clear that such actions do not rise to the level of a constitutional violation,” [U.S. District Judge Ronald L.] Buckwalter wrote.
Buckwalter also dismissed the complaint’s state-created danger claim, noting that when the train operator first discovered the plaintiff’s son unresponsive, he immediately contacted SEPTA dispatchers to let them know of the situation and inquire what to do next.
“Decedent was therefore in no way restrained by SEPTA’s actions here,” the judge determined. “The allegations of the Complaint and the reasonable inferences therefrom do not suggest that SEPTA created a danger to the decedent or that it rendered him more vulnerable to any danger than had it not acted at all.”
Buckwalter further wrote that nothing occurred on the train that exacerbated Yeremian’s “already-in-progress condition.”
“Thus, while SEPTA may have been alerted of a potential danger when the Decedent did not respond to the employee’s attempts to arouse him, these actions did not create a danger because the danger already existed prior to this point,” the ruling states. “Moreover, SEPTA’s actions did not render the Decedent more vulnerable to any danger than had it not acted at all.
“The same unfortunate results would still likely have occurred here even if the train operator had not radioed to the Terminal and continued to operate the train,” the ruling continues. “This is because it cannot affirmatively be stated that the Decedent would have lived under these circumstances but for SEPTA’s failure to immediately stop the train and render medical assistance.”
Wasn’t it just a few months ago that the 100 hit a car left on the tracks by a drunk driver?