Railroad Companies Awarded Dismissals for Plaintiffs’ Failure to Properly Plead Successor-In-Interest Liability

In these actions, plaintiffs Dennis Franco and James Nelson claimed exposure to asbestos while working, respectively, as a track repairman for the Reading Company and as a machinist for Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail). Defendants CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway are successor-in-interest to Reading and Conrail and moved to dismiss several of the plaintiffs’ claims, including common-law negligence and premises liability, arguing that the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) provides the exclusive remedy to railroad carrier employees who suffer work-related injuries resulting from the employer’s negligence. The defendants also moved to dismiss the remaining claims, arguing that the plaintiffs failed to properly plead that they had liability for the prior companies’ acts.

The court dismissed several claims based on defendants’ FELA argument — which were unopposed by the plaintiffs — and then dismissed the remaining claims, holding: “…accepting all of the First Amended Complaints’ remaining allegations as true, and drawing all reasonable inferences in Plaintiffs’ favor as the non-moving parties, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to plead the necessary elements of successor liability against these Railroad Defendants.”

Read the full decision here.