Burr & Forman

12.1.2017   |   Articles / Publications

Burr Alert: Fourth Circuit Holds that Federal Courts Have Concurrent Jurisdiction with Surface Transportation Board over ICCTA Claims

On November 16, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit joined the First, Fifth and Sixth Circuits in ruling that claims arising from the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (“ICCTA”) can be litigated before the federal courts as well as theSurface Transportation Board (“STB”). The Court’s ruling in Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Balt. & Annapolis R.R. continues a recent trend of divesting the STB’s exclusive jurisdiction over ICCTA claims.

As background, the ICCTA established the STB and granted it “exclusive” jurisdiction over certain railroad disputes in 49 U.S.C. § 10501(b). However, the ICCTA also provides that “[a] person may file a complaint with the [STB] … or bring a civil action … to enforce liability against a rail carrier.” 49 U.S.C. § 11704(c)(1).

In this case, Norfolk Southern (NS) brought suit against the Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad (B&A) to recover damages for 31 NS railcars that were trapped on B&A’s line for almost two years, due to an embargo prohibiting travel across its bridges. NS brought claims for conversion and for B&A’s failure to pay “car hire,” a rental charge imposed by the owner of a railcar for the time a railroad has possession of a railcar.

Download the full article, “Burr Alert: Fourth Circuit Holds that Federal Courts Have Concurrent Jurisdiction with Surface Transportation Board over ICCTA Claims” written by Al Teel.

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