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 Pacific appealed.
  • 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.