X

Legal Memorandum: Grant of Summary Judgment in a FELA case

Issue: When is summary judgment granted in an FELA case?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: FELA case; Summary judgment
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 422 F.2d 1037; 208 N.W. 901; 926 F.2d 262; 467 N.W.2d 388; 352 U.S. 500; 98 F.2d 815; 64 F.3d 1358; 33 U.S. 520; 342 U.S. 359; 512 U.S. 532; 355 U.S. 426; 84 F.3d 803; 444 U.S. 490; 242 Neb. 720; 496 N.W.2d 895; 372 U.S. 108; 763 F.2d 805; 921 F.2d 129; 332 U.S. 459; 271 U.S. 472; 237 Neb. 617; 480 U.S. 557; 411 F.2d 365; 519 F.2d 512; 430 F.2d 697; 369 U.S. 355
Cited Statutes: 45 U.S.C. § 56, § 51
Date: 06/01/2007

It has long been settled law that the rights and obligations of parties to a FELA action are governed by the terms of the FELA statute “and applicable principles of common law as interpreted by the federal courts.”  Chicago, Minneapolis & St. Paul Ry. v. Coogan, 271 U.S. 472, 474, 46 S. Ct. 564, 70 L. Ed. 1041 (1926).  The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly reiterated this principle on numerous occasions over the past 75 years.  E.g., Consolidated Rail Corp. v. Gottshall, 512 U.S. 532, 544, 114 S. Ct. 2396, 129 L. Ed. 2d 427 (1994); Norfolk & W. Ry. v. Liepelt, 444 U.S. 490, 493, 10 S. Ct. 755, 62 L. Ed. 2d 689 (1980); Dice v. Akron, Canton & Youngstown R.R., 342 U.S. 359, 361-62, 72 S. Ct. 312, 96 L. Ed. 398 (1952).  State courts trying FELA claims are required to apply federal law concerning burdens of proof.  New Orleans & N.E. R.R. v. Harris, 247 U.S. 367, 371-72, 38 S. Ct. 535, 62 L. Ed. 1167 (1918); Dice, 342 U.S. at 361.

The Nebraska Supreme Court has recognized that federal substantive law governs the disposition of FELA cases:

Courts of the United States and courts of the several states have concurrent jurisdiction over claims controlled by the Federal Employers’ Liability Act.  45 U.S.C. § 56.  In disposing of a claim controlled by the Federal Employees’ Liability Act, a state court may use procedural […]

margin-left:1.0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:justify’>

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)