Railroad
Practice Area Chair:
Timothy J. Coleman
503.227.1111 Main
503.972.9213 Direct

Attorneys Practicing In This Area:

Paralegals Supporting This Area:

Railroad

Our railroad practice includes nationally recognized lawyers with over 60 years of combined experience representing railroads in a variety of cases.  The scope of service we provide to the industry is all-encompassing.  We are well positioned and familiar with the operations of common carriers and the intricacies of federal and state law that apply to railroads.  We have significant trial experience on behalf of our railroad clients, and have defended railroad cases across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

We are proud of our history representing multiple railroad clients, and our firm has been recognized for our experience in this area.  This includes our recognition in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Railroad Law.  In addition, several of our team members are involved with the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.  Our Railroad Practice Group Chair, Tim Coleman, has served the railroad industry as an NARTC Regional Vice President and he continues to serve on several key committees. 
 
Our railroad areas of expertise include:  
  • FELA litigation, including traumatic and occupational claims
  • Employment law disputes
  • Appellate law
  • Commercial contracts
  • Environmental and toxic tort matters
  • Freight disputes
  • Grade crossing accidents 
  • Insurance
  • Locomotive, freight car, rail track, and other equipment malfunction
  • Property damage
  • Real estate disputes
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Third-party injury claims
  • Third-party recovery
Railroad "Go" Response Team
Our lawyers are ready at a moment's notice to be on scene to assist railroad clients when an accident occurs.  Our railroad team has been called to the scene of serious accidents and train collisions and have provided advice to Railroads on accident investigation and to railroad Operating Personnel in connection with National Transportation Safety Board Investigations.
 
Railroad Affiliations
  • ASLRRA (American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association)
  • NARTC (National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel)

Representative Work
Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA)/Toxic and Cumulative Cases
We have successfully tried many FELA cases to verdict and have a deep working knowledge of the FELA.  For example, our team handled a FELA acute back injury case based on allegations of bad ballast and walkway conditions at a siding in eastern Oregon.  We worked with our client to investigate the case, develop a trial strategy, and try the strict-liability case to a jury for three weeks.  At the conclusion of trial, the jury awarded damages far below plaintiff's last demand.
 
Our team has also successfully handled numerous toxic tort and other exposure related claims.  Examples include: 
  • Asbestos claims
  • Inhalation injury claims
  • Diesel exhaust claims
  • Chemical exposure claims
  • Hearing loss claims
  • Cancer claims
  • Many other cumulative trauma cases involving all types of alleged injuries
Railroad Crossings and Third-Party Litigation
We have significant experience handling railroad crossing cases throughout the Pacific Northwest.  We are knowledgeable on the state and federal regulatory and statutory framework governing railroad crossings, and we are well versed in the unique legal issues and defenses that arise in crossing cases, including state law preemption.  We have also handled many other types of third-party lawsuits, including car and bicycle accidents, as well as personal injuries of all sorts.  
Property Damage
Our team has handled many property damage matters, including train delay and locomotive damage claims, derailment investigations and response, fire, trespass, livestock, and landslide litigation.
Indemnity/Recovery
Our team has been successful in recovering millions of dollars for our railroad clients.  For example, our team recovered a substantial amount from a software vendor who manufactured and sold to a railroad client a remote control operating software system that the plaintiff alleged had malfunctioned and caused him injury.  We worked with our client to bring suit against the software company to recover damages per the parties' contract.  We won summary judgment on claims based on breach of warranty and contractual indemnity, obtaining full damages for our client, in addition to attorney fees and costs. 
Employment
We have handled multiple employment matters for our railroad clients over the years, including claims for wrongful discharge and retaliation.
Land Use & Real Estate Transactions and Litigation
We have worked on many cases involving real estate transactions and litigation for our railroad clients.  One example of our work on real estate matters involved a lawsuit concerning a dispute over a pipeline lease agreement.  In that case, we recovered over $1,000,000 in back lease payments for our client.
Appellate/Insurance Coverage
Our partner Tom Christ and his team have extensive experience handling appeals and insurance coverage all over the Pacific Northwest.  Tom is one of the most prominent appellate lawyers in the state and has handled over 400 appellate cases.  The firm also has interpreted insurance provisions in agreements between railroads and third parties, determining the existence of coverage.  Firm partners have assisted short line railroads in obtaining coverage when coverage was disputed by an insurance carrier.