Supreme Court Now Decides Arguments That Could Determine Future Rail Yard Slip-and-Fall Cases


WASHINGTON (Gray DC) — On Monday, judges heard arguments in the LeDure v. Union Pacific Railroad Company case.

The case revolves around the interpretation of exactly when a locomotive is “in use” and whether that includes when it is not moving.

In his claim, bandleader Bradley LeDure sued Union Pacific after he said he slipped and fell on an oil slick on a catwalk while working in Salem, Illinois, in 2016.

Lawrence Mann is an attorney on the case. He represents the railway workers.

“The worker’s position is that a locomotive is in use,” Mann said. “These are the words of the law until the locomotive is moved to a controlled environment.”

Mann says an example of a controlled environment would be a repair shop.

In his original lawsuit, LeDure alleged negligence by Union Pacific under the federal Employers’ Liability Act and the Locomotive Inspection Act.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois and the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit previously ruled in favor of Union Pacific.

It was on base, Union Pacific couldn’t have known about the slippery spot…and because the locomotive was not in use at the time of LeDure’s fall.

“The position of counsel for Union Pacific is that there must be imminent movement,” Mann said. “He has to be ready to be moved or obviously moving.”

LeDure petitioned the High Court saying it shouldn’t matter if the locomotive was moving or stationary.

In a statement, Union Pacific says it “believes that a sensible interpretation of the Locomotive Inspection Act does not mean a locomotive is ‘in service’ when parked on a back track, waiting inspection”.

The Supreme Court is out of session in June. The judges should have a decision by then.

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