• Supreme Court Limits Forums Where Rail Workers Can Sue Employers
  • June 29, 2017
  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on May 30, 2017 that Montana courts cannot assert jurisdiction over claims made by injured nonresident employees whose injuries were sustained while working out of state. The Justices' 8-1 decision sides with BNSF Railway Co.'s argument that such suits must be brought in the state that the employer is incorporated or headquartered. The ruling reverses the Montana Supreme Court's ruling in 2016 that individuals have the right to sue in the state even though they have no connection to it, under both the Federal Employers Liability Act, a 1908 law that protects railroad workers injured on the job, and Montana state law. Specifically, the Justices said that a state court must follow precedent of the Supreme Court's 2014 decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman - which held that the due process clause forbids a state court from exercising general personal jurisdiction over a defendant that is not at home in the forum state - in a suit against an American defendant under FELA.