Supreme Court turns down appeal in Clay County railroad death

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal in a lawsuit stemming from the 2006 death of a railroad conductor in a rural area of Clay County.

The decision, issued without comment, was a victory for CSX Transportation in a legal battle about the company's duty to provide medical assistance.

The state 1st District Court of Appeal in 2015 sided with CSX, and a divided Florida Supreme Court last year decided against hearing the case.

Crystal Sells filed the lawsuit after the death of her husband, Larry, who died in 2006 after suffering cardiac arrest as he went to manually operate a switch to change tracks, according to court documents.

A co-worker found Sells within minutes and called a CSX dispatcher for help.

The dispatcher had trouble communicating the exact location, and emergency medical technicians did not arrive on the scene for 35 minutes.

Crystal Sells alleged in the lawsuit that CSX failed to provide a safe work place, with the issues including a lack of automated external defibrillators on trains.

The 1st District Court of Appeal ruling, however, said “case law establishes that while CSX had to procure prompt emergency medical treatment for Sells once it knew that he was seriously ill, it did not have a duty to take anticipatory measures to prevent such emergency situations.”