requirements, all of which must be proven to establish liability.
First, as Illinois courts have long recognized, the danger of trying to climb onto
board a moving train is objectively obvious as a matter of law to the general class of
children (such as Choate) who are old enough to be allowed at large without adult
supervision. See infra pp. 19-24. As a result, recovery is precluded as a matter of law,
whatever Choate’s “subjective understandings and limitations” may have been. Salinas v.
Chi. Park Dist., 189 Ill. App. 3d 55, 61 (1st Dist. 1989); see infra pp. 25-26.
Second, in any event, Choate himself admitted that he understood the danger. The
particular plaintiff’s “appreciation of the risk, if established in fact,” is independently
“sufficient to free a defendant landowner of all liability for the child’s injuries,” even if
the danger cannot be deemed objectively obvious to all children. Colls v. City of Chicago,
212 Ill. App. 3d 904, 933 (1st Dist. 1991). In this case, judgment should have been
entered for defendants because the evidence that Choate understood that jumping onto a
moving train is dangerous was so overwhelming as to permit no other reasonable
interpretation. See infra pp. 27-32. But even had the evidence left room for a contrary
finding, the trial court erred in not giving defendants’ proffered special interrogatory,
which would have required the jury expressly to resolve that dispositive issue of fact. See
infra pp. 32-34.
Third, Choate’s claim also fails because he did not present sufficient evidence of
measures that defendants reasonably could have undertaken to prevent the accident. This
was not a case of a pedestrian getting hit by a train while crossing the tracks in a moment
of inattention. Choate tried to jump onto a moving train not once, but three times, to show
off for his girlfriend. The only way that defendants could have prevented him from doing