Al Teel Quoted in Law360 Article on Supreme Court’s Missed Opportunity to Clarify Enforcement of Federal Rail Worker Safety Regulation
In an article published by Law360, Al Teel was quoted on a Supreme Court split that kept intact a ruling that observers were hoping would clear up a confusing case law regarding railroads’ liability when workers are injured.
The Supreme Court’s deadlock left the Seventh Circuit ruling shutting down Bradley LeDure’s suit against Union Pacific Railroad Co. over injuries sustained from a slip and fall while preparing a train at a rail yard. LeDure, an employee of the company, argued the train was “in use,” while Union Pacific countered the locomotive was motionless and parked, so it was not "in use."
At stake was whether railroads should face increased liability in suits invoking the Federal Employers' Liability Act, Safety Appliance Act or Locomotive Inspection Act, or FELA.
“The end result will likely do little to stem the rising tide of FELA lawsuits utilizing strict liability theories in what still remains a negligence-based statutory scheme,” Burr & Forman LLP partner Al Teel said. “For now, the ‘in use’ defense is still viable and will be litigated on a case-by-case basis.”
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