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Injured Railroad Workers Cannot Sue Railroad in State Where Injury Did Not Occur and Where They Do Not Live

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier today that the Montana Supreme Court incorrectly asserted personal jurisdiction over a railroad in two cases regarding on-the-job injuries. Even though both suits were pursued in Montana state courts, neither of the injured workers resided in Montana and neither were injured in Montana. Montana’s Supreme Court predicated its finding of personal...

Worker’s Sprained Ankle Leads to $250,000 Punitive Damage Award for Retaliation

A railroad challenged a worker after the worker filed an OSHA complaint on grounds that he lied in that complaint about precisely how his on-the-job accident occurred (based on a discrepancy between the complaint and his prior version of the events).  An ALJ concluded that those charges of dishonesty amounted to unlawful retaliation against the employee for filing the OSHA complaint...

Illinois and Texas Cases Stemming from Lac-Megantic Derailment Transferred to Maine

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maine agreed last week to transfer Illinois and Texas cases related to the 2013 crude oil train derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec to the District of Maine pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 157(b)(5).  The transferred cases include personal injury tort and wrongful death cases pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and...

Railroad Must Produce Event Recorder Data For Longer Time Period Before Derailment

Following last year’s crude oil train derailment in West Virginia, the railroad brought suit against the company responsible for maintaining the track.  The railroad alleged that the derailment was caused by the defendant company removing anchors from the track in anticipation of replacing the existing rail (the replacement allegedly was supposed to take place the same day as the...

Preparing For Crisis Management

Sutherland partners Matt Gatewood and Susan Lafferty recently presented a Legal Quick Hit to the ACC’s Energy Committee on the fundamentals of preparedness for crisis management following significant operational failures. The outline of that presentation is below: Identify the risk inherent in every operation Monitor the pulse of industry changes, including new hazards and...

New Railroad Track Inspection Standards Forthcoming After West Virginia Derailment Findings Released

The Federal Railroad Administration announced yesterday new upcoming rail-track standards in connection with reporting its detailed findings of the crude train derailment earlier this year in West Virginia.  The agency announced it will release a Safety Advisory, which urges closer and more detailed inspections where defects and flaws are suspected, and stronger training for rail...

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