THEY say you can’t fight city hall. If the tenor of yesterday’s hearing at the Supreme Court is any indication, it seems you can’t fight the Rathaus either.
The case pits a Californian woman, Carol Sachs, against OBB Personenverkehr BB, a railway owned by the Austrian government. In March 2007, Ms Sachs went online and bought a ticket for train travel in Austria and the Czech Republic from Rail Pass Experts (RPE), an outfit in Massachusetts authorised to sell Eurail passes. A month later, when attempting to board a train in Austria operated by OBB, Ms Sachs fell between the platform and the train and landed on the tracks. Her legs were crushed by the moving train, requiring a double amputation. Ms Sachs then filed a lawsuit in a federal district court in California in which she accused OBB of negligence, design defects and breach of implied warranties.
Ms Sachs says the train began rolling just as she was stepping on board; OBB counters she recklessly attempted to mount the train when it was already moving. But this factual dispute is beside the point. The Supreme Court’s question in...Continue reading