Norfolk S. Ry. v. E.A. Breeden, Inc.Annotate this Case
In 1940, property owners (Yanceys) and the predecessor to Norfolk Southern Railway Company (together, Norfolk) entered into an agreement (Agreement) whereby Norfolk agreed to construct and maintain a private grade grossing over its railroad tracks. In 1996, E.A. Breeden, Inc. acquired part of the Yancey estate and leased a house upon this track to Todd Ditton and his wife. Ditton was injured when his vehicle was struck by a Norfolk train at the crossing. Ditton filed an action against Norfolk, and the parties settled. In 2006, Norfolk filed an action against Breeden seeking to recover the settlement amount based on an indemnity clause in the Agreement. The circuit court ruled that Norfolk was not entitled to indemnification or contribution from Breeden because Ditton was a successor in interest under the terms of the Agreement and his use of the crossing was independent of Breeden. Subsequently, Norfolk removed the private crossing, and Breeden sought a permanent injunction requiring Norfolk to replace and maintain the crossing. The circuit court granted the request for injunctive relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in concluding there was no material breach by Breeden and in granting the injunction.