Grube v. Union Pacific R.R.
256 Kan. 519, 886 P.2d 845 (1994)
Grube was a train engineer. The train he was driving
struck a car, killing several people.
Grube was shaken up by the experience, and sued Union
Pacific for negligent infliction of emotional injury.
The Trial Court found for Grube and awarded $121k. Union
The Appellate Court reversed.
The Appellate Court noted that, according to Kansas State
law, a plaintiff must demonstrate some physical impact or injury in order
to recover for negligent infliction of emotional injury.
However, since this was a railroad case governed by FELA,
Federal common law applied.
Federal common law basically says that workers within the
"zone of danger" of physical impact are able to recover for
emotional injury caused by fear of physical injury to himself, whereas
workers outside the zone will not.
The Court found that Grube never feared
physical injury for himself, he just felt bad for the people in the car
that got run over.
Since Grube was unable to establish that he had suffered
physical injuries, and was unable to establish that he feared for his own
safety, he cannot recover.