A federal appeals court granted a new hearing Friday to a Berkeley woman who lost her legs when she fell through a gap on a railway platform in Austria, was hit by a train and later tried to sue the government-owned railroad for damages.
A panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco had voted 2-1 in September to dismiss Carol Sachs' lawsuit against OBB, the Austrian national railroad. The majority cited a U.S. law that bars suits against foreign nations for governmental actions.
Sachs sought a rehearing, arguing that the railroad had engaged in commercial activity through its involvement in an agency that sells multi-railway tickets called Eurail passes in the United States. On Friday, the appeals court said a majority of its judges had voted for a rehearing before an 11-judge panel, to be held the week of March 18 in San Francisco.
Sachs, who had bought a Eurail pass, was injured in April 2007 at a station in Innsbruck. She said she slipped through a gap and fell to the tracks when the doors of the train she was trying to board closed and the train started moving. Both her legs had to be amputated above the knee.