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Norfolk Southern Railway Company v. Sorrell

Docket No.: 05-746
Certiorari Granted: May 15 2006
Argued: October 10, 2006
Decided: January 10, 2007

Topic:

Jury Instructions

PartyNames: Norfolk Southern Railway Company v. Timothy Sorrell
Petitioner: Norfolk Southern Railway Company
Respondent: Timothy Sorrell

Court Below: Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District

Norfolk Southern Railway Company
v.
Timothy Sorrell
549 U.S. 158 (2007)
Consideration Limited:

LIMITED TO QUESTION 1 PRESENTED BY THE PETITION.

Question Presented:

1. Whether the court below erred in determining -- in conflict with this Court and multiple courts of appeals -- that the causation standard for employee contributory negligence under the Federal Employers Liability Act ("FELA ") differs from the causation standard for railroad negligence. 2. Whether, under the comparative negligence scheme of FELA, state courts may rely upon a jury instruction and verdict form mandated by state law that make it impossible for defendants and courts to determine whether and to what extent a jury found contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff, and which treat FELA defendants differently from all other litigants.

Question:

Is the causation standard for employee negligence under the Federal Employers Liability Act different from the causation standard for railroad negligence?

Holding: judgment vacated and remanded
Vote: 9-0
Read NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY V. SORRELL opinion (PDF)

Read opinion
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