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reasoned that the plaintiff before it “could not be presumed to have realized the dangers

of flipping the train because he had seen others . . . successfully mount and dismount the

slow-moving trains.” Id. at 528. Yet the court also recognized that “[u]nder different

facts . . . a judge could find that the danger was obvious to a plaintiff . . . and find no duty

existed as a matter of law.” Id. at 531 (emphasis added).

This case presents those “different facts.” Unlike the train that Engel mounted,

which was moving “very slow[ly],” at only “four or five miles an hour” (186 Ill. App. 3d

at 527), the train that Choate jumped onto was moving at at least twice the speed—“9, 10

miles an hour,” according to Choate (Tr. 1766). See also Tr. 726 (Patton’s testimony that

the train was going “10 miles an hour, if not more”); cf. Torf v. Commonwealth Edison,

268 Ill. App. 3d 87, 91 (2d Dist. 1994) (“fast-moving water . . . could only have made the

risk more, not less, obvious”) (internal quotation marks omitted). Indeed, the train was

moving so quickly that Choate had to run alongside it. Tr. 1689, 1747. Moreover, unlike

Engel, who had seen people jump onto moving trains “without incident on seven or eight

times” (186 Ill. App. 3d at 526), Choate admitted that he had “never seen anyone else

successfully jump onto a train” or “catch[] a ride on a moving train” (Tr. 1684, 1750). In

fact, immediately before the accident, Choate saw his friend, Charlie Spindler, try

unsuccessfully to jump onto the train. Tr. 746, 1742-43; D. Choate. Dep. 77-79 (A26). So

even on its terms, Engel compels the conclusion that the dangerousness of the train that

Choate climbed aboard was obvious as a matter of law.3

3 Choate’s suggestion to the contrary notwithstanding, Engel cannot fairly be read to suggest that the obviousness of the danger of a moving train to a general class of children can be lessened by the particular plaintiff’s idiosyncratic experience. “A landowner owes no duty to a child if children of similar age and experience would be able to appreciate the dangers on the premises,” and whether a given danger is “deemed obvious to children


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