Just out of curiosity, do you live in the Chicago area? Do you use Metra? Did you see all the news stories covering the accident and court hearings? I did, and even the bleeding-heart media could not cover the fact that she was careless. Yes, the conductor did not check the side of the train before departure, but that is the only thing the railroad did wrong.
The fact that the conductor did not check the side is reason enough for her to win the lawsuit. Doing the "second look" was not required to check because the C&NW rulebook didn't require it, barring that fact that previous documented
incidents of people being dragged had happened and higher-ups ignored it. Some upper level manager(s) at the C&NW didn't do their job and someone else got hurt because of it. Metra was responsible as well because they did have "second look" protocol in their rulebooks (since 1987) but didn't exercise oversight onto the C&NW crews running their trains. It's not something most of us like, because she did indeed leave her seat too late to safely leave the train, but that's the way it is. Allegations (by Metra/C&NW) of folkway violations and commuter etiquette violations on the part of Ms. Barton would never stand up as a valid defense in court, because mass transit systems in this country have to be safe for not only the seasoned commuter but also the once-in-a-while rider. This isn't a third-world country where you can ride on the roof but if you don't find something to grab onto and fall off and die, well, it's not the railroad's problem.
Personally I've never put much water into the "she should have let go" theory. At some point during the court proceedings an actual set of bilevel doors were brought in, and used to re-enact the segment. I have faith in the legal system in that whatever the jurors saw, they acted reasonably on. Also remember that the violin was in the train
when the doors closed, and wasn't at risk of being destroyed. The arguments of her "choosing between saving her legs by letting go or letting her violin get destroyed" aren't valid because the violin never left the train. It was safely in the vestibule the whole time, and she testified that she knew that when the doors closed.
I still hold my contention that the worst things with this case occurred in law offices and courtrooms afterwards. It set the benchmark to go by when a lawyer felt like gouging a railroad for all they could, rather than what was actually sufficient for their client.