FELA & Railroad Defense

In 1908, before most states enacted modern workers’ compensation schemes, the United States Congress enacted the Federal Employers Liability Act (“FELA”), 45 U.S.C. §§ 51-59, which reduced the burden imposed upon railroad workers in suits against their railroad employers. The nation’s maritime workers successfully lobbied Congress for similar protection under the Jones Act in 1920. The United States Congress and various state legislative bodies have enacted numerous workers’ compensation schemes around each of these acts to ostensibly provide “coverage” for most other employees in today’s society.

When a railroad worker alleges an injury on the railroad, his remedy under the FELA is to file suit against his railroad employer. Unlike most industries, the nation’s railroads are constantly finding themselves being sued by their employees for claims ranging from traumatic injuries, cumulative trauma injuries, or occupational diseases allegedly resulting from their work on the railroad. These cases typically involve large ad damnum, complex medical causation issues, and volumes of documents.

Our attorneys have over 80 combined years of experience defending the nation’s railroads against claims under the FELA. In addition, our firm has extensive experience in defending railroads against non-employee claims, such as crossing accidents, trespasser claims, and property damage claims.

Our understanding of trial tactics and negotiation has led to numerous defense verdicts and settlements favorable to our clients. We conduct thorough investigations in each case, and employ the “leave no stone unturned” philosophy when preparing each case for trial.

Throughout the investigation and discovery process, we actively work with our clients to formulate the best trial strategy based upon the individual facts of each case. Preparing and trying FELA cases is a collaborative effort between our attorneys and the clients we represent.

Our dedication and experience are great assets in the struggle to protect the nation’s railroads against frivolous claims, and to ensure that goods, supplies and materials continue to move on the rails for years to come. Our attorneys understand that.

The following are some of our attorneys’ representative engagements:

  • Coordinating and trial counsel for two of the nation’s Class I railroads and the nation’s largest passenger rail carrier in litigation involving claims and suits by employees allegedly injured as a result of exposure to occupational workplace hazards, including asbestos, silica, diesel fumes, soaps, solvents and other chemical fumes, and hearing loss and exposure to repetitive stress.
  • Virginia and Maryland trial counsel for two of the nation’s Class I railroads and the nation’s largest passenger railroad in traumatic injury cases to employees and non-employees, including defense of Federal Employees Liability Act claims, crossing accidents, trespasser claims and property damage claims.