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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Providence and Worcester found liable in five-year-old lawsuit


Last week, Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. (PWRR) announced it's been found liable in a lawsuit first filed in 1999.

In the case of George O'Leary vs. Providence and Worcester Railroad, a jury found the 545-mile regional liable for $319,559 plus 12 percent interest accruing daily. The decision also includes $500 for medical bills and $10,000 for the plaintiff's legal expenses. The majority of the jury's award covers pain and suffering, embarrassment, rights violations and punitive damages.

PWRR officials had filed a motion for a new trial or judgment, but the motion was denied.

The lawsuit stems from an incident in February 1996, when the plaintiff was arrested for trespassing on PWRR's right of way in East Providence, R.I. In 1999, the plaintiff filed suit alleging various civil rights violations arising from the incident, including unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, battery, assault, and violation of the fourth and fourteenth amendments.

PWRR officials are "considering all options, including an appeal to the Rhode Island Supreme Court," according to a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/1/2004