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Shirtless Man on Red Line Tracks: Trying for Premises Liability?

Earlier Thursday morning, a man without a shirt stopped the T after jumping down to the tracks and walking down them, according to the Boston Globe. He just strolled down the platform, shirt off, shoes on, and gingerly lowered himself to the tracks and began high stepping towards the security camera.

Did this guy think that he might try and get hit by the train and then bring a lawsuit against MBTA? Would he somehow claim that his ability to get on the tracks was the T's fault? Let's see how this thing would work out.

Here's the surveillance video of the situation (skip to 0:30 to see the man faster):

If you watch, it looks like the man is very deliberate in his actions, like it was some sort of stunt.

Let's get to the premises liability issue. All owners or possessors of property have a duty to make the property safe for visitors. This means making sure that there are not puddles of soap on tile floors or hidden trap doors that lead to a pit of spikes.

Part of making the property safe also includes having warnings if the situation cannot be physically changed to be made safe. In the T station case, there are moving trains and danger everywhere. However, there are also warning signs all over the place. Not to mention the huge warning band close to the edge of the platform.

Also in a premises liability case, it must be shown that the danger was not known. Here, it would be difficult to argue that one wouldn't know that there are trains that run along the track and that there were not adequate warnings.

Further, any fault place on the property owner is based on the theory of negligence. This means that a defense to any case is that the harm was not caused by the property owner's negligence. Here, we can show that the property owner could have put up a barrier to the tracks and this guy would have likely climbed over it.

Needless to say, if this guy was trying to scam a lawsuit out of the MBTA he would likely lose. However, had he merely been walking on the platform and slipped onto the tracks because of a loose brick, he would be smart to get a personal injury lawyer.

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