Court refuses to keep train wreck video confidential

Maldonado v. UPRR, No. 09-1187, 2010 WL 1980318 (D.Kan. May 18, 2010)

Even the fear of social media won’t keep some things under wraps.

The video camera onboard a locomotive captured the moments before the train struck a car at a railroad crossing, killing one of the occupants. In the inevitable lawsuit against the railroad following the accident, the plaintiffs’ lawyers demanded that the video of the accident be produced in discovery.

The railroad objected to the production of the video absent a court order keeping it confidential, arguing that the presence of services like YouTube would permit the video to be widely distributed to the public. To keep the video from serving as “entertainment for gawkers looking to satisfy their morbid curiosity,” the railroad wanted only the parties, lawyers, staff and experts to be able to see the video.

The court rejected the arguments and found that nothing in the video depicted gruesome images of death or injury. It denied the railroad’s motion for protective order. So if you’re into this kind of content, keep an eye on YouTube. Though from what I gather from the court’s description of this video, there’s plenty of gorier stuff out there.

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