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Summary Judgment on Rail Worker's FELA Claim Reversed

By FindLaw Staff on May 18, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Schmidt v. Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co., No. 08-35845, concerned an action raising a negligent injury claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) based on injuries suffered by plaintiff-railroad worker.  The Ninth Circuit reversed summary judgment for defendant, on the ground that plaintiff presented adequate evidence for a rational jury to find that defendant could control critical aspects of plaintiff's daily work, including those aspects that may have caused his injury.

As the court wrote:  "John Schmidt appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendant Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) on his negligent injury claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), 45 U.S.C. §§ 51 et seq. The district court found Schmidt did not present adequate evidence to show he was employed by BNSF. We disagree, and conclude Schmidt's evidence raises a triable issue of fact as to whether BNSF was his employer."

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