RAILROAD (FELA) / FELA plaintiff has burden of coming forward with at least SOME EVIDENCE of railroad’s negligence – here 10th Circuit affirms dismissal by summary judgment below in favor of railroad.

“At no time did he provide evidence that his job was unreasonably dangerous, that the tools he used were inadequate, or that his workplace was not safe. The physical demands of his job alone are insufficient to show negligence.His difficulty performing his job is not enough to show the job was unsafe or that Union Pacific required him to perform the job in an unsafe manner.” 

Volner v. Union Pacific Railroad, 2013 WL 363486 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, January 31, 2013). Free copy available hereContinue reading

TORTS, RAILROAD & PUNITIVE DAMAGES / Montana Supreme Court breathes life into 32-year-old precedent on punitive damages against a railroad: “Evidence collateral to all other issues in the case nevertheless may be admissible to prove punitive damages”

Runkle v. Burlington Northern, 2013 WL 6740153 (Supreme Court of Montana, 1980). Free copy available here.

Why raise this old case here? The Montana Supreme Court last week issued an opinion in a tort case in which it relied on Runkle v. Burlington Northern for two key propositions of what sort of evidence ought to be admitted on the question of punitive damages against a company or other party who has harmed persons or property (a “tortfeasor”). McEwen v. MCR, LLC, 2012 WL 6740153 (Supreme Court of Montana, December 31, 2012). Free copy available here. Continue reading

TORTS & RAILROAD (FELA) / Three selected FELA cases from this week.

Noted below are three cases reported this week that arose under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (“FELA”):

1. Goldman v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transp. Authority, 2012 6619228 (Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, December 17, 2012). Free copy available here.

Held: The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (“SEPTA”), may not be considered an “arm” of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania which, under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, would confer upon SEPTA sovereign immunity from lawsuits brought by injured employees of its Regional Rail Division under the Federal Employees Liability Act (“FELA”). Continue reading