Train Law Blog

Train Law Blog

The Source for Railroad Injuries & Whistleblower Protection

Tag Archives: railroad injury

Federal Court Decision Analyzes “False” and “Late” Injury Reports

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
An important district court decision spells out how to analyze discipline based on allegedly "false" or "late" injury reports. And also you can add it to the growing list of cases rejecting the hapless "election of remedies" defense still being raised by railroads in Federal Rail Safety Act cases. Election of Remedies After Track Department … Continue Reading

ARB And Federal Courts Both Embrace Favorable FRSA Legal Standards

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
The federal courts and Administrative Review Board now are moving in lock step regarding the employee friendly legal standards applicable to FRSA complaints. Building on the landmark Araujo v. New Jersey Transit Rail 708 F.3d 152 (3rd Cir. 2013) federal circuit court decision, the ARB in Hutton v. Union Pacific Railroad Company confirms that the FRSA’s … Continue Reading

More FRSA Railroad “Defenses” Shot Down

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
Two recent decisions, one from a federal district court and the other from the Administrative Review Board, reject several of the defenses railroads have raised against Federal Rail Safety Act whistleblower retaliation cases. Adding a FRSA Count to an FELA Complaint is Allowed In Battenfield v BNSF Railway Company, Burlington Northern failed to prevent an injured … Continue Reading

FRSA Alert! Landmark Federal Appeals Court Decision Clarifies Legal Standards

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
The law governing Federal Rail Safety Act retaliation complaints just got a whole lot clearer. In a precedent setting decision, a United States Circuit Court of Appeals has resoundingly confirmed the remedial purpose of the FRSA while clarifying the employee-friendly legal standards that apply to all FRSA complaints. As a result, Anthony Araujo v. New … Continue Reading

ARB Rules The Mere Filing Of A Charging Letter Constitutes FRSA Adverse Action

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
The old English Common Law had a phrase for the argument: "de minimis non curat lex" ("the law does not concern itself with trifles"). But unfortunately for American railroads, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board has emphatically rejected the application of that argument to violations of the Federal Rail Safety Act. The facts … Continue Reading

Magical Thinking Does Not Release Pending FRSA Complaint

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
A federal district court has ruled that a General Release for a Federal Employers Liability Act  personal injury does not also release a pending Federal Rail Safety Act complaint. In Tagliatela v. Metro North Railroad, custodian Ralph Tagliatela was disciplined for the "late reporting" of an injury. He filed a FRSA complaint with OSHA, and while that … Continue Reading

Discipline Based On Injury Investigation Information Violates FRSA

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
It’s a common scenario: employee reports injury; railroad conducts investigation of the injury; railroad declares the employee’s statements about the injury somehow to be "inconsistent" or "misleading" or "false" and fires him for dishonesty. Two recent decisions explain why that is a violation of the Federal Rail Safety Act. In Henderson v. Wheeling & Lake Erie … Continue Reading

How To Name Names In FRSA Complaints

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
In addition to naming the railroad as a defendant in a Federal Rail Safety Act complaint, employees have the power to name managers or supervisors as individual defendants as well. And there are good reasons for doing so. When OSHA, a judge, or a federal jury finds that a manager illegally retaliated against a worker … Continue Reading

Railroad Injuries Gain A Triple Layer of FRSA Protection

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
It’s official: injured railroad workers who seek medical attention now have a triple layer of protection against retaliatory discrimination. The U.S. District Court has joined OSHA and the Administrative Review Board in ruling that a railroad’s denial, delay, or interference with the medical treatment of an injured employee is a form of "discrimination" prohibited by … Continue Reading

Norfolk Southern’s Injury Retaliation Costs Soar

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
Norfolk Southern Railroad’s illegal practice of charging employees who report injuries with "false and misleading statements" is catching up with it. In the past three months, OSHA has ordered $2,154,000 in damages against Norfolk Southern for violating the Federal Rail Safety Act rights of seven employees. That is an average of $308,000 per violation, not … Continue Reading

FRSA ALERT! Railroads Lose Power To Interfere With Injured Workers’ Medical Treatment!

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
In a decision that will send shock waves reverberating throughout the railroad industry, railroad medical departments now are prohibited from doing anything that directly or indirectly interferes with the treatment prescribed by an injured worker’s treating doctor for the entire period of medical treatment, not just immediately after an injury. Once again, thanks to the … Continue Reading

How To Get Hit With FRSA Punitive Damages

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
Norfolk Southern Railway is showing all of us how to get hit with big Federal Rail Safety Act punitive damages. Here is OSHA’s explanation as to why it awarded record-breaking punitive damages against Norfolk Southern in two recent FRSA cases. NS Engineer Kintner was fired after reporting an injury due to a tripping hazard in a locomotive. OSHA … Continue Reading

OSHA Hammers Norfolk Southern Railway With Record Breaking Punitive Damages

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
Norfolk Southern Railway is learning the hard way that retaliation doesn’t pay. Despite earlier warnings, it has continued its abusive course of conduct toward employees who report injuries. And so today OSHA issued a Press Release confirming record breaking punitive damage awards in three Federal Rail Safety Act cases: $200,000 + $175,000 + $150,000 = … Continue Reading

OSHA Confirms The FRSA Protects All Railroad Workers Who Follow Their Doctor’s Orders Not To Work

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
The case of my client Chris Bala established that the FRSA protects ALL railroad workers (not just employees with an on-the-job injury) from attendance discipline when they follow the orders of a treating doctor not to work  Why? Because safety trumps discipline. No one wants medically impaired railroad employees reporting to work against their doctor’s … Continue Reading

More FRSA Developments

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
Important developments in the Federal Rail Safety Act just keep coming. Here are a couple. OSHA has issued another punitive damages award against Metro North Railroad, this time for harassing an injured employee by interfering with his medical treatment and recovery. The Finding in Cortese v. Metro North Railroad is especially notable because it recognizes … Continue Reading

Dept of Labor Elevates Status of Whistleblower Office

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
In an encouraging sign to whistleblowers, the Department of Labor has elevated the status of its Office of the Whistleblower Protection Program (OWPP) so it now reports directly to the Head of OSHA, Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. This puts whistleblower protection on an equal footing with OSHA’s health and safety enforcement, and increases the … Continue Reading