1743. Choate admitted that he “recognized . . . on the day of the accident . . . that the train
[he was] grabbing onto was dangerous,” but still “attempted to board [the] moving freight
train [on] three different occasions,” solely to “show off.” Tr. 1762-63; D. Choate Dep.
127-28, 206 (A29, 32). Choate’s mother had specifically and repeatedly warned him
“before the accident [about] the severity of the injury that could occur if someone tried to
get on a moving train.” Tr. 1634, 1722.
The Events Of July 30, 2003.
The scene. Three railroad tracks run in the northwest-southeast direction
behind the parking lot at 5810 West 107th Court Way in Chicago Ridge, Illinois. Tr. 716-
18. Defendant CSX Transportation (“CSX”) owns the tracks, while defendant Indiana
Harbor Belt Railroad (“IHB”) patrols the right-of-way. Tr. 1051, 1055.
Looking north from the parking lot, one sees first a fence line and then the tracks.
Tr. 719, 1731; DX18A. The chain-link fence does not extend all the way across the rear
of the parking lot. Tr. 819; DX18A. Near where the fence ends, there is mounted a sign
DANGER NO TRESPASSING NO DUMPING
Tr. 720, 1735; DX18B.
2. The accident. July 30, 2003 was a clear summer day. Tr. 723. That afternoon,
Choate and five of his acquaintances (Alisa Van Witzenburg, Brittany Edgar, Jessica
Gunderson, Charlie Spindler, and Steven Weyer) had gathered in the parking lot of the
apartment building behind 5810 W. 107th Court Way to “walk around talking for a