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Appeals court: Couple, cop can proceed with joint lawsuit against railroad in '09 crash

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Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A state appeals court ruled Tuesday that a suburban Milwaukee couple and a police officer can proceed with a joint lawsuit filed against a railroad after a 2009 train crash.

By a 2-1 vote, the First District Appellate Court in Milwaukee overturned a circuit court ruling which said the suit was not allowed due to federal railroad laws.

Monica Ensley-Partenfelder was on her way to Elm Grove’s Memorial Day parade when her van stopped on railroad tracks in heavy traffic. Her husband Scott and Elm Grove officer John Krahn were seriously injured while trying to save the couple’s 2-year-old son from the van, just before it was hit by a passing Canadian Pacific train.

The railroad blamed negligence on the van driver, but the Partenfelder lawsuit claimed that the railroad knew there’d be more traffic that day – and it should have taken steps to prevent a mishap.

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