Cash Parker recently presented at The National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel’s (NARTC) Fall Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. The NARTC is a 64-year old organization made up of approximately 1,100 outstanding railroad trial attorneys from across the United States and Canada. The 2018 Fall Meeting was attended by railroad clients (in-house attorneys and claims professionals) and outside defense counsel.
Cash’s presentation titled “Nobody’s Home: Personal Jurisdiction After Tyrrell,” focused on the Supreme Court’s 2017 BNSF Railway Company v. Tyrrell decision in which the Court found that general personal jurisdiction over railroads under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) can be exercised typically only in the railroad’s state of incorporation or principal place of business. In so holding, the U.S Supreme Court overruled the Montana Supreme Court and held that dismissal of two FELA suits filed by plaintiffs with no connection to Montana be dismissed for want of personal jurisdiction over BNSF. The practical impact of the decision was that railroads generally can be sued under the FELA only in the state where: 1) the alleged injury occurred; 2) the railroad keeps its principal place of business; or 3) the railroad is incorporated.