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Bradley Murchison attorneys have a long history of involvement with the unique legal issues affecting the rail industry. Our attorneys have skillfully and successfully handled diverse matters including, employee claims arising under the Federal Employers Liability Act and the Federal Railroad Safety Act, Real Estate servitude acquisition, expropriation and right-of-way disputes, highway-rail grade crossing collisions, trespasser and other third-party injury actions, cargo and property damage claims, as well as unintended hazardous material releases resulting in both ordinary and class action proceedings.

 

Several of our litigators are members of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates, The Best Lawyers in America®, Louisiana Super Lawyers®, and New Orleans Magazine, Top Lawyers. Through our long and close partnership with the rail industry, our attorneys have developed a broad understanding of the specialized laws and regulations governing the industry’s areas of operation. This wealth of experience allows us to partner well with the knowledgeable rail industry professionals with whom we work in addressing the many challenges faced by the industry.


Representative Matters

Represented the landowner in an expropriation action prosecuted by the Parish of Jefferson under Title 19 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes in the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Jefferson. The property was necessary to proposed drainage project being implemented by Army Corps of Engineers; the public purpose for the taking was not contested. The expropriating entity undervalued the property on account of the preexisting easement, ignoring the fact the antecedent servitude would be extinguished by operation of law with its taking. The litigation was resolved by compromise.

 

Represented a common carrier by railroad in connection with a fatal grade crossing accident occurring when a deaf pedestrian walked into the path of the approaching train at a railroad grade crossing controlled by cross-buck signs only (no train activated flashers were installed at the intersection). The lead locomotive was equipped with a digital video recording system preserving the event in “real time.” Also sued in the case is the municipality in which the fatal accident occurred. Motions for summary judgment are currently under submission.

 

The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a summary judgment we obtained for a common carrier by railroad, dismissing the bodily injury and associated tort claims of a minor and his parents arising out of an incident occurring near the carrier’s classification and switching yard. The minor, playing with friends on the carrier’s right of way claims he was startled by the sudden movement of a stationary train, falling beneath the train and sustain an amputation injury. We moved for summary judgment at the conclusion of discovery and the federal district court granted the motion, finding the carrier breached no duty owed to the minor.

 

Represented a rail carrier in multi-party litigation involving a right-of-way dispute among a couple of allegedly land-locked property owners and businesses who access and whose invitees and customers access their facilities their properties via an un-licensed private grade crossing over the carrier’s mainline. One of the businesses is using two old tanks, believed to encroach the carrier’s right-of-way for the storage and sale of diesel fuel and gasoline. The litigation is currently in active discovery; we are conferring with property abstractors regarding the disputed property claims.

 

Recently compromised and settled a multi-million dollar Federal Employers Liability Act claim prosecuted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana by the client’s counsel on behalf of a locomotive engineer in his mid-forties earning annual wages in six figures for lumbar and cervical injuries sustained when coworkers engaged in yard switching kicked a multi-car cut of railcars into the stationary train he was occupying. Plaintiff was free of contributory negligence and the physician to whom his lawyers referred him performed six separate procedures, including failed multi-level fusions in his cervical and lumbar spine.

 

Successfully prosecuted tort indemnity claims under Louisiana law against a plant contractor who negligently failed to inspect, maintain and repair the hopper door closure mechanisms on a fleet of open top hoppers owned by the plant operator and used within the refinery to transport caustic refinery by-products. Due to undiscovered and unrepaired defects in one of the hoppers, a cut of traincars derailed resulting in bodily injuries to one of our client’s employees. His claims against our client, and against the plant owner and another contractor were compromised and settled. Our client is seeking to recover its settlement sums back from the culpable contractor.

 

Represented a rail carrier in a hybrid FELA/state tort suit prosecuted by an injured railroad maintenance of way supervisor who was injured in August 2009 as he attempted to move his hi-rail vehicle through a work zone. The carrier’s mainline was under repair due to damage caused by two hurricanes. Heavy machinery, operated by railroad contractors’ employees, were being used to accomplish the track work. The claimant’s vehicle was struck by the bucket of a rip-rap laden track hoe, ripping the roof off of the crew cab and severely injuring claimant. We are defending the carrier in the FELA claims and are concurrently pursuing contractual indemnity claims against the contractor who provided the track hoe and operator at the site. The case is set for trial in December 2012 in the Fortieth Judicial District Court for the Parish of St. John the Baptist.

Awards

Bradley Murchison ranked by Best Law Firms©, National Tier 3, Railroad Law, 2019

Bradley Murchison ranked by Best Law Firms© in Metropolitan Tier 1, New Orleans, Commercial Litigation, 2019

Bradley Murchison ranked by Best Law Firms© in Metropolitan Tier 1, New Orleans, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, 2020

Bradley Murchison ranked by Best Law Firms© in Metropolitan Tier 1, Shreveport, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, 2020

Bradley Murchison ranked by Best Law Firms© in Metropolitan Tier 3, New Orleans, Railroad Law, 2019

Bradley Murchison ranked by Best Law Firms© in Top Listed State Awards, having 7 lawyers listed for Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants in Louisiana, 2019

Bradley Murchison ranked by Best Law Firms© in Top Listed City Awards, having 2 lawyers in Shreveport listed for Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants in Shreveport, 2019


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